Friday, 27 April 2018

A fine balancing act...

The last few weeks have brought into sharp focus just how challenging it is balancing quality and money as we have been finalising contract negotiations with our commissioners and setting budgets for the next year.

It’s clear that we’re still facing financial difficulties, with a predicted deficit of around £11m going into the new financial year. However, our Board recognises the need to continue to invest in our services despite this, and have made some key decisions to invest in quality improvement in areas such as safer staffing and Information Management &Technology. 
We have had some challenging discussions with commissioners over the last few months, but I am pleased to say we have reached agreement on a number of areas which I see as really positive: 

  • We have secured an additional £2m funding towards safer staffing on our mental health wards
  • Commissioners have agreed to fund our enhanced capacity mental health beds – these are additional beds over and above those agreed in our block contract that have been open but unfunded for a number of years 
  • We have agreed to extend our community services contract with Trafford for another two years, with an agreed risk sharing agreement
  • We are receiving transformation funds to support the development of mental health and community services in areas such as core 24 and out of hospital models

Although we have finished 2017/18 with a deficit, I am pleased that we have finished in a better position than planned with a c£4m deficit rather than £6-7m deficit as predicted at the start of the year. This would not have been possible without the efforts of all of you, our staff, and so thank you. It isn’t easy working in public services at the moment, but I am as ever, grateful for your continued commitment and hard work. I would also like to say thank you to the finance team as it’s always a challenging time of year managing the year end accounts and I recognise just how much hard work has gone into this.  

Maintaining and improving quality in times of reducing resources is incredibly difficult, but I have been struck by your hard work and diligence in continuing to provide great care and support on some of the visits I have undertaken recently.

Our Chair - Evelyn and I recently visited the Health & Wellbeing College and we were inspired by the stories of students there who have turned their life around and gone on to find work or further training. The college’s recovery-focused courses support people to recognise their potential and make the most of their talents and resources, through self-management. A real example of how we make a difference to the communities we serve. 

We both also visited Community Services in Bury and visited a number of different teams. Again, we were struck by how hard everyone is working to deliver good care but also recognised just what a high degree of stress and strain increasing demand is placing on individuals. Services in Bury seem to benefit from very strong team working which appeared to help teams cope with this, but it was still a concern for us. 

And we heard from the Oldham West Community Integrated Team at a recent Board meeting and we were all struck by the strength of their partnership working and the impact this was having on people’s lives as demonstrated in the patient stories they shared. These showed patients receiving a more timely and efficient service, and this integrated way of working is one I am keen to see develop across other areas.

My apologies to the HMR Mental Health services for not being able to get to your away day last week, but am hoping to get to the next one. 

So, my thanks to all of you trying to keep quality first and foremost in your services despite the challenging financial environment, and we will continue to do our best to create an environment where this continues to be possible. 

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive

Friday, 13 April 2018

Working together to make improvements

As it has been just over six months since I joined Pennine Care, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my thoughts after a period of listening, talking to staff and taking stock of where we are in conjunction with the Board.

I have previously spoken about an independent Well-Led Review in my blog which was commissioned by the Board and took place in January and February. This review 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. The findings of the review were shared with Board towards the end of March and only by honestly assessing where we are can we truly enable meaningful changes and improvement to happen.

The findings provide a clear indication of what we’re doing well as an organisation but have also highlighted areas of improvement we need to focus on. The detailed findings will be used to develop an Organisational Development (OD) Improvement Plan of how we need to change the way the organisation is run to place the delivery of high quality, compassionate and continually improving care at the heart of everything we do. I am very keen that we provide an opportunity for staff to be involved in the development of our plans so that we can shape our future direction together. As part of getting that robust diagnostic of what we need to improve, we will also be conducting a cultural audit with staff to focus on how we do things at the Trust, what our values mean to us and what the Pennine Care way should be. Please look out for further updates on this in the near future.

Next steps
To support this important agenda I am looking to work with key clinical and managerial leaders and staff in a range of ways:

·       Trust Management Board: A new formal monthly business meeting will replace the current Executive Director Performance meetings from May onwards. This group will bring the Exec Directors together with representation from our managing directors, corporate heads and clinical leads to discuss organisational strategy and performance. Invites will be going out soon.

·       Collective Leadership Group: I will be establishing a new monthly informal forum comprising of our 40-50 senior managerial, clinical and professional leaders to help shape and influence the Trust’s direction of travel. We are planning a ‘launch’ of this group in early May.

·         Trust-wide Strategic Planning Days: Twice a year we will be holding a bigger workshop similar to the one held in November for a broad range of approximately 100+ staff to ensure team leaders are kept up to date on what is happening and have an opportunity to shape how we work.

·         Staff Reference Group: The existing staff engagement group will be expanded to include a good representation from across our services, managers and front line staff – some of whom I’ve identified on my visits to services who have been keen to be involved. This group will support me in overseeing the development of our OD Improvement Plan and work around our values and organisational culture. I am currently finalising arrangements and will be in touch very shortly with people who want to be involved to confirm how we take this forward.

How you can get involved
It’s important that we develop our areas for improvement in partnership with you, our staff, and there are a number of ways you can get involved:

·         Participate in our organisational culture engagement – we want to hear from you to gain a full perspective on the organisation so that we can strive towards improving things. Staff will have an opportunity to share their thoughts at focus groups or through the Go Engage surveys. Please look out for further updates.
·         Raise any thoughts or comments through your senior managers or leaders so that they can be fed into the above groups.
·         Let me know if you are interested in being involved in our staff engagement work or joining the Staff Reference Group. We will find a way to involve you, whether this is by way of a virtual network or other means. I can be contacted on:

I look forward to updating you on developments.
Thank you for your continued support and contribution.

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive