Monday, 27 November 2017

My week: Things are starting to take shape

I’ve now been in post for a couple of months and things are really starting to take shape.  But I don’t have a grand plan to unveil, that’s something we all need to co-produce together.  

After spending time with board last week, I have this week been part of a strategic planning event involving around 100 of our senior clinical leaders and managers from across the Trust.  It’s the first time in a while people have been brought together on this scale and it was fantastic for me to be able to hear directly from each division about their achievements, successes and future plans. 

I was able to share some of my own early reflections with our collective leaders... there is clearly a great deal of passion and commitment from staff who put in a lot of discretionary effort, but there is a sense of people becoming a bit tired and weary.  Also, whilst Pennine Care has until this year been able to successfully meet its financial savings targets, this has come at some expense to maintaining quality levels, which we need to address.  The devolved operating model is viewed positively in general, although there isn’t a strong sense of an integrated organisational identity.  I’ve also observed that clinical and professional leadership is less obvious within the organisation.  Overall, from the many conversations I’ve had with people, staff do generally like working here and there is a strong sense that people are really up for a new approach to take us into the future, which is great for me.

Taking all of this into account, I have been working with colleagues to start to develop our priorities, which include revising our strategy with a clearer narrative and business plan, as well as focusing on organisational effectiveness, which is about our culture and how we run the trust.  I have also started to work on some early delivery priorities, which are under the general themes of quality, people, partnerships, money and infrastructure.  I’ll share more about all of this soon and plan to come out to test the thinking out with frontline staff too.

I also attended the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee away day this week, following on from an informal meeting with Partnership Officer last week.  Again, this was really useful and further cemented the importance of this group in navigating the challenges facing staff and services.  We had an open and frank discussion between Partnership Officers, representatives and managers, with a heavy focus on the future roll of this committee in listening to staff concerns, resolving them and providing a valuable forum to shape our people plan and approach. 

Many Thanks


Claire Molloy
Chief Executive 

T: @PennineCareNHS

Friday, 17 November 2017

My week: Staff side, consultants and board time out


It’s been a pretty significant week in terms of progress and developments.  I met with the staff side partnership officers on Monday and we had a very honest discussion about their perspectives on what it’s like to work at the Trust and the challenges faced by staff.  It was good to hear from them and I am encouraged that we will develop a good working relationship.  I consider that our Partnership Officers have a critical role within the organisation and I value hugely their contribution and role that the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee plays. To this end, I will be attending a development session with the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JNCC) members next week and will endeavour to attend future JNCC meetings.  

I also met with Lisa Ryder, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian on Monday.  Lisa’s role is about supporting staff to raise and handle issues effectively and helping create a culture of openness where staff are encouraged to speak up, lessons are learnt and care improves as a result.  I was very assured by Lisa’s approach to the role and would encourage staff to get in touch with her if they had any concerns they wanted to raise in confidence and didn’t feel able to raise through other routes. 

I also spent time meeting with over 60 of our medical consultants as part of their away day this week.  It was an opportunity to share some of my emergent thoughts with them and test what we need to do for the future.  This particularly included the need to strengthen clinical and professional leadership.  In order to build a clinically-led organisation, we need to have visible and strong clinical leaders and the appetite from the consultant body to support this was great.  Thanks for inviting me, I enjoyed talking with you! 

I mentioned last week that the board would be taking some time out to focus on the Trust’s future strategy.  We started the session on Wednesday afternoon and Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, joined us to give an overview of the direction for Greater Manchester and explore with us Pennine Care’s future role within the system. 

We then spent all of Thursday considering our future direction and organisational development priorities. After a lot of hard work we are really starting to see things come together now.  We will need further work to develop and refine things and then we are planning to hold some staff engagement sessions in the New Year to test our thinking out with staff and give you an opportunity to help shape our direction of travel.  Watch this space for more detailed information about this important agenda.

I’ll be ending the week today (Friday) by meeting with Theresa Grant, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, to discuss how things are going in Trafford and exchange ideas.  

So all in all it’s been a pretty packed week but I can see that things are really starting to take shape now.

Thanks as ever for reading,


Claire Molloy
Chief Executive
T: @ClaireMolloy2

Friday, 10 November 2017

My week: Planning ahead and sustainability

At the start of the week I took a day out of the office with my executive team colleagues to do some reflecting and forward planning.  It was a really good day and a chance for us to talk about our organisational position and agree a sense of priorities, certainly for the medium-term anyway.  We will be taking this early thinking into a full board strategy session next week, which will then inform a business planning day on 24 November, involving around 100 of our leaders and managers.  I will continue to keep staff up to date as plans become more concrete, which will likely be in the New Year. 

Staff will be aware that we have this year planned a deficit financial position of -£6.6m, whilst also needing to implement a number of quality improvements following the last two rounds of CQC inspection, particularly on mental health wards.  It is likely that the deficit will further increase next year to as much as -£16m.

It is well reported that trusts up and down the country are facing financial struggles, but we do need to make changes in order to move forward. It is clear coming into the organisation that year on year cost improvements are beginning to impact on quality, as highlighted in the CQC inspections.  Our Board have recognised the need to invest in improving quality, in areas such as safe staffing, and this is one of the reasons why we are planning to have such a large deficit next year. 

However, we know that we will need to consider how we can improve our position going forwards and return to financial balance. We cannot resolve these problems alone and are working with our commissioners and other key partners to address them.  I met with colleagues from NHS Improvement this week to discuss the matter and they will be working closely with us to agree the improvements necessary.  I believe this is the catalyst for change we need to really get the system behind us and ensure we can move forward with additional help and support. Watch this space for now. 

Lastly, I was unable to visit community services in Rochdale on Tuesday - sorry to the teams that were expecting me!  I will ensure the date goes back into the diary as soon as possible.  

That’s about it for now…


Claire Molloy, Chief Executive 


Friday, 3 November 2017

My week: Oldham, Rochdale, Governors and partners


I’ve had the opportunity to get out and about and spend time with different clinical services over the last few days, which has been brilliant. 

Last Friday, I spent time with community services in Oldham and was incredibly impressed with the advances they have made with integration.  I learnt about the adults cluster team model in Oldham West where adult nursing, primary care and social care staff are fully integrated and collocated.  I also visited the fantastic staff at Butler Green and heard how they have grown from a single unit to a whole intermediate care pathway, including a rapid response team and discharge team working in the hospital.  I also visited some of the children’s nursing and therapies teams in Oldham, who again have very well established pathways and examples of integrated working.   

I’ve also visited mental health services at our Birch Hill site in Rochdale this week, spending time with staff at Beech ward, Moorside and Hollingworth ward.  I listened to the stories from staff and the daily challenges they face when caring for people with complex mental health needs.  These jobs are not easy and we need to help by improving the ward environment.  This is being picked up through our estates improvement plan but I recognise that we need to move forward at a quicker pace, led by the clinical teams. 

After spending time in both mental health and community services, I was struck by how well services are moving forward in their specific localities and service lines, but not necessarily together as a combined physical and mental health offer.  With us all being part of the same organisation there is definitely room for improvement on how we work closer together, under the whole person care ethos.

We have this week had our first Strategic Partnership Board with commissioners and partners sat round the table.  It is chaired independently by Jon Rouse, chief officer of the GM Health and Social Care Partnership.  The purpose of the meeting is to help partners appreciate the challenges faced by the trust and jointly own responsibility for moving things forward. 

I attended my first full Council of Governor’s meeting and was able to share some of my early thoughts on observations, whilst also hearing from them.  I’ve also had very productive meetings with some of our key external partners Karen James (Chief Executive at Tameside Integrated Care) and Steven Pleasant (Chief Executive Tameside Council) and separately Gaynor Mullins (Chief Clinical Officer at Stockport CGG).  I’ve also met with Colin Scales (Chief Executive at Bridgewater NHS Trust) to talk about opportunities for networking and sharing between our community teams.

So all in all it’s been another very busy but productive week.  I am certainly getting to know people around the trust and would like to thank everyone for continuing to make me feel welcome.

Thank you

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive