Thursday, 29 March 2018

A focus on engagement...

At the start of the year I mentioned that we were beginning a period of significant change, challenge and improvement and I am pleased to see some of this is beginning to take shape.

I have mentioned the Well-Led Review in previous blogs and that any change or improvement starts with having an honest assessment of where things currently stand. The review has looked at several areas including whether we have a credible strategy, our culture, leadership particularly at Executive and Board level, how we learn and improve and how engaged staff are. We are hoping to share some of the themes that have come out of this work during April, so watch this space.

The Board held a development session on the 19 March focusing on the initial outcomes of the review and how to address some of the challenges. This review will form part of a broader diagnostic about where we are as an organisation.

Together with other sources of information, we are hoping that by the end of May we should have a comprehensive view of what’s good and not so good here at the Trust and areas of improvement to focus on.

I am keen though that this is a partnership with you, our staff. This shouldn’t just be led by the Board, or Senior Leaders. I want to know what you think about working in Pennine Care? This will make sure we have a rounded perspective on the organisation.

We already have tools in place to measure staff engagement and temperature check where we’re at – Go Engage is a key part of this. I would like to say how sorry I am that I missed the celebration event last week due to illness, it was great however to hear some of the fabulous stories of how teams were able to improve engagement scores within their work areas by implementing tools to improve aspects of engagement such as communication, team building and feedback. The next Go Engage survey will be out in April, so please do take the time to fill this in.

In addition to these mechanisms I am also keen we do some specific work to engage with staff. So, I will be working closely with Fiona Ibberson from the Organisational Development team to set up some focus groups with staff looking at our values within the organisation and how much they resonate with staff.  Very importantly, I want to know if people see our values being translated in the way people behave and undertake some work on the sort of behaviours we really want to see.

We will also be undertaking a cultural audit – this will be in the form of a questionnaire, but will be different to the staff survey. This will focus on the way we do things at the Trust, “We are what we do”. I want to know the way we do things and why?

We already have a staff engagement group, but I am looking to build on this to establish a small group (15-20 people) to work directly with me on this. I have already identified some people through my visits to services that are keen to be involved but this is an open invite to be involved in this work, to shape our future direction. I am looking to ensure we have a good representation from across our services and mix of managers and more front line staff. If I get more people than needed, I will expand this group to an informal network and find ways of engaging you in this work.

If you’d like to be involved, please email me: And I will obviously use this blog to update you on this work going forward.

Finally, thank you to those of you who are working over the bank holiday but I hope that everyone gets to spend some time enjoying the lovely sunny weather we are expecting!!!

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive

Friday, 9 March 2018

You are our eyes and ears

Some of you may have picked up the announcement this week about the results of the NHS Staff Survey. 

This has been running since 2003 and asks NHS staff in England about their experiences of working for the NHS.

The survey provides essential information to national stakeholders and employers (such as us) about the staff experience across the NHS in England.

This year, almost 32 per cent of you completed your survey which is lower than the average of 45 per cent. I appreciate this has been a challenging time for many of our services, but the information you provide in this survey really does make a difference to the way we structure our services and provide care and support. 

In our results for this year, I am pleased to see that the percentage of you agreeing that your role makes a difference to patients and service users is high. I am keen that we put our service users at the heart of what we do going forward. Last week proved how far you are prepared to go to deliver on our promises to provide care to those in our communities – I am still in awe of all your efforts.

Secondly, it is heartening to see that the percentage of staff experiencing physical violence, and the percentage of staff experiencing discrimination in work in the last 12 months is low. In a mental health and specialist trust, such as ourselves, often the instances of violence are higher than we’d like, due to the complex nature of our vulnerable patients. If you do experience violence, please do report it as soon as possible.

There are things we need to improve on. The percentage of staff working extra hours is higher than we’d like. We do have flexi-time and overtime policies and I would encourage you to speak to your manager if you feel your workload is unmanageable. 

You also told us that a lot of you have attended work in the last three months, despite feeling unwell, due to pressure from managers, colleagues, or yourself. And that the percentage of you feeling unwell due to work related stress in the last 12 months is high. This must stop. If you are unwell, you are unwell and we do not expect you to attend work. Your health and wellbeing is important to us. 

We have the Staff Wellbeing service which I would encourage all of you to use if needed and our Wellbeing Wednesday emails are full of tips to help you balance work and life – the latest one came out this week. I know your commitment is very high, but we all need a break at times. 

Lastly, the percentage of you reporting most recent experience of harassment, bullying or abuse is high. This is not nice to read. I don’t want anyone to come to work and feel intimidated. Our HR colleagues are working on a new campaign focusing on respect in the workplace. This will recognise our diverse workforce and aims to tackle bullying and discrimination. In the meantime, if you experience anything you aren’t happy about, please report it to your manager, or if you don’t feel you can, please contact our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Lisa Ryder.

You are the eyes and ears of our organisation; we rely on you to tell us when things aren’t working. Please don’t feel afraid to speak up. My door is always open.
In the meantime we will be working through the survey in more detail with our teams and will be seeing what more we can do to address the concerns this raises. I’ll share more on this at a later date. 


Friday, 2 March 2018

Beast from the East is no match for our staff

As we come to the end of a very challenging (and cold) week, on behalf of the Board, we want to extend our deepest gratitude to our staff; not just our frontline clinical staff, but those who provide support behind the scenes to keep services running.

We have been in awe of how you have braved the elements to make sure patients continue to receive the care they need and deserve.  Your dedication, commitment and concern for patients is inspirational.

We know just how difficult it has been for many of you to travel from a to b; particularly those who live or work in more remote locations.

There have been some amazing examples of staff going above and beyond.  We have heard how some mental health ward staff stayed over at work, to make sure they could cover their next shift.  Other staff have worked a longer shift to cover for colleagues who were running late due to the weather.

We have seen photos of community staff knee deep in snow, but keeping their spirits up by sharing amusing anecdotes about slipping and sliding into snow drifts.  We have heard stories about staff abandoning their cars and walking miles to make sure they reached their next patient.   

Our estates staff have been working hard to keep our health centres and office bases safe; no doubt many of you will be sporting aching muscles from all the grit and snow that has been shovelled.  

What is apparent from all of these stories, along with feedback from managers, is what absolute heroes you all are.  This is true all year around, but your tenacity is even more evident when faced with a difficult situation.  

Your fantastic work was noted by the Board during this week’s meeting and has been formally noted in the minutes.  The Manchester Evening News has also been in touch with our Communications Team for some stories and photos.  Click here to read the article.  We've also been approach by Key 103 and Heart FM.

You should be hugely proud of yourselves – the Beast from the East is no match for you!

In view of all this great work, it seems quite appropriate that nominations for our CARES Awards 2018 open on Monday (5 March).  These are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate our services, teams and individuals who uphold our CARES values and to share learning and best practice across the Trust.

Look out for more information on Monday.  We’ve no doubt there will be many inspirational entries.

Finally, while the snow and ice continues, please stay safe and take care of yourself and others.  You can find lots of advice on the Trust website at 

Take care and thank you again.

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive 

Evelyn Asante-Mensah OBE