Friday 27 December 2013

Day 82: In-Between-Mas

Is there a proper name for the period between Christmas & New Year? If not, I’ll name it In-Between-Mas! I was working today and took advantage of a quiet(ish) day to catch-up with the few colleagues who are in and also the less than urgent tasks that have built up recently.  I’m aware that things aren't as quiet with our local providers as they work hard, particularly in this bad weather, to serve our patients.  I am particularly grateful to all the NHS staff who work so hard, sacrificing time with their families, at this time of year. Thank you!

Monday 23 December 2013

Day 81: Nursing Home Visit

Today I visited a nursing home who provide rehabilitation beds for patients who are well enough to be discharged from hospital, but still need therapy before go to their own home.  This is a relatively new home and staff described that their priority is to provide the best possible service to their existing patients rather than rush to fill all the space they have.  It was also great to see the patients in such a light, spacious environment, made as homely as possible.  Definitely glad I made the visit.

Friday 20 December 2013

Day 80: What A Week!

Monday: #DavidInCharge of @WeNurses for 24 hours from 7am & @WeKittens was born!  Governance & Risk Steering Group, Paperless Project IT Working Group then Informatics & Activity Validation Group.  NHS Direct’s Farewell Party in the evening.

Tuesday: Mental Health & Community Services Reprocurement Steering Group then CCG Public Board.

Wednesday: Board Patient Safety & Quality Committee then Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Thursday: Executive Committee Meeting, Staff Meeting, Contract Management Board, Strategy Development Group then CCG Staff Christmas Dinner after hours.

Friday: Security Awareness Session, Jingle Bells Bring & Share Lunch, Office catch-up, then home for Dad’s Taxi duties with kids.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Day 79: The First Janitor In Space

Monthly all-staff meeting today; an opportunity to listen to colleagues and discuss our vision and values following a previous Board workshop (see Day 17).  General consensus was that the vision and values we’ve developed are along the right lines.

Helpful feedback that we need to consider developing a shorter vision statement.  Also, further narrative needs adding to our value statements, to incorporate carers and explain how they apply in different situations with patients, public, staff and other stakeholders.

Whatever the words we choose, everyone in the CCG needs to buy into them and be like the first janitor in space.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Day 78: More Progress

Another meeting of the Board Patient Safety & Quality Committee today.  Still lots to do to improve how this committee works, including the quality of some reports and how it relates to other Board committees such as Finance & Performance and Audit.  However, there was a real sense of progress, as we’re now focussing more on issues that are most relevant and important to Luton.  We are benefiting from the planning put in place for the committee to ensure we spread its work out appropriately throughout the year and keep each meeting manageable, but we’ll evaluate this properly at year-end. 

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Day 77: #DavidInCharge

Yesterday I was privileged to be in charge of @WeNurses’ Twitter account for 24 hours.  This gave me the opportunity to engage with many nurses and others in a way I hadn’t before.  I made life difficult for myself by doing many other things on the same day (see Day 76 blog), but thanks to the wonders of modern mobile communications I managed to stay connected.  To see how I got on, check out tweets between 7.00am Monday 16 to 6.59am Tuesday 17 December.  This experience seemed to bring out the mischievous side of my personality and @WeKittens was born!

Monday 16 December 2013

Day 76: The End Of An Era

This evening I am attending a Farewell & Christmas Party for NHS Direct.  Before taking up my new role, I had a fantastic 7½ years working with some wonderful people there.  Although the organisation is closing down for good on 31 March 2014, an organisation could be said to be a collection of people working under a single brand; so, whilst we’ll all be saying goodbye to NHS Direct, I’ll never forget the people I’ve worked with.  I will always be grateful for their friendship and support.  I wish everyone there a happy and prosperous future whatever it may hold.

Friday 13 December 2013

Day 75: The Day After The Night Before

Last night was a fantastic chat on Twitter with @WeNurses and @6CsLive on recent guidance published by the National Quality Board for safer staffing levels.

This guidance was also a key topic at our regular NHS England Area Team Directors of Nursing meeting today.  We had a frank and open conversation about the challenge of implementing the guidance in the current financial climate whilst being open with patients & public.

I left the meeting enthused that providers and commissioners can work together to make this effective, but it won’t be easy.  The ten principles of the guidance are shown below.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Day 74: Looked After Children

I had a routine One 2 One today with my Designated Nurse for Looked After Children.  We discussed a number of areas where we aren’t achieving as much as we want to in ensuring our providers effectively support the health of this vulnerable group.  We talked about some of the strategies we can use to increase the speed of improvements we need to make and who we need to engage with to make this happen.  The main challenges are competing priorities and working across organisational boundaries, but we are making progress and have a plan to resolve the outstanding issues.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Day 73: Objectives

Reviewed personal objectives with Chief Officer this morning.  Key headline areas are listed below and I’ll report back on progress in a future blog:

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Day 72: Directors of Nursing & Social Media

At a recent meeting with fellow CCG Directors of Nursing (see yesterday’s blog-post) I agreed to share some information about how and why senior nurses in the NHS should use social media.  I'm going to break my 100 word rule to share a copy of the e-mail that I sent:

Dear Colleagues,

It was good to see you all again yesterday.  I appreciate that between us there was a varied level of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm about social media and its potential benefits for us as individuals in our professional lives.  I agreed that I would share some resources with you to help those of you who are keen to understand and/or use social media more; hopefully any of you who aren’t so keen will find this interesting and useful on some level.  The information I’ve included in this e-mail covers two main areas: ‘why’ and ‘how’ we use social media in the NHS.

Social Media in the NHS (why)
For a range of blogs and further reading about social media and healthcare, over the years I’ve curated some resources that may be of interest here. These include NHS official opinions as well as many articles and information from a range of different sources.  The following are a small selection of the NHS-specific view on how and why we should use social media (Declaration of Interest: I was interviewed for the first and am quoted in the third publications listed below; in spite of this, I still think they’re worth a read J):

  • HR and Social Media in the NHS – don’t be put of by this bulletin being aimed at HR, it contains a good narrative around why we should be more permissive with staff in our use of social media in the NHS.
  • Twitter The Basics – this is a resource developed by Simon Day, Communications & Engagement Manager, Health Education England; aimed at NHS staff and to understand the basics (you can whizz through this in less than 10 minutes if you’re pressed for time).
  • Twitterversity – this is a resource aimed specifically at nurses and caters for a range from those brand new to Twitter (Student Tweeter), through those who get the basics, but want to learn more (Staff Tweeter) on to those with a bit more experience, but want to really want to be productive in their use of Twitter (Sister Tweeter).  This has been developed by @WeNurses, which is run by Teresa Chinn who is an agency nurse who felt more and more isolated in her professional role, so turned to social media to connect with other nurses.  This resulted in her starting and running the WeNurses community on Twitter, which is now over 12,000 strong.
  • How To Use Twitter – Not aimed at NHS or health people, but one of the best and comprehensive guides to getting started with Twitter that I’ve seen.  It is a blog written by @PME2013.  It is lengthy, but if you do take the time to read it, there isn’t much else about getting to know Twitter from a general perspective that you won’t find.  You can skip past the bits that you already know or aren’t interested in!

Twitter Basics (how)
To get started with Twitter it is helpful to know some of the basics like what a ‘hashtag’ is, how do I ‘follow’ someone, or see who’s following me!  There are many helpful resources and guides to this; I’ve provided three good examples below.  The first is a quick canter through the basics, the second aimed specifically at nurses and the third a more detailed guide of everything you need to know about Twitter:

For a bit of both ‘why’ and ‘how’, read Lisa Rodrigues, CEO (and nurse) at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, article in HSJ: Social Media for NHS Dummies.

Finally, it’s often helpful to know you’re not alone and Twitter is still relatively new; I’ve only been using it seriously for about three years.  There are many nurses on Twitter and also quite a few Directors of Nursing, both from providers and commissioners in the NHS.  A list of the Directors of Nursing that I’ve found on Twitter is available here.

Please do share some or all of this e-mail with colleagues if you think it would be of use to them and I am happy to talk more in more detail with you individually or collectively.

Best wishes,


Monday 9 December 2013

Day 71: Reflections and Progress

This morning was our regular meeting of Directors of Quality & Nursing from CCGs within the local area (Hertfordshire & South Midlands).  We spent some time reflecting on the recent Chief Nursing Officer Summit and how we will put what we’d learnt there into practice, particularly assurance of providers’ safe staffing levels.  We reflected on recent meetings of the Quality Surveillance Group and how we can improve it.  We also discussed the progress of our quality collaborative we've established, to make more efficient use of our respective teams using a ‘do once and share’ approach to improvement in important areas.

Friday 6 December 2013

Day 70: My Hospital Guide 2013

At 1.00am on Monday morning Dr Foster Intelligence will publish My Hospital Guide 2013 online with a focus this year on commissioning and mortality.

I doubt many, if any, of you will be staying up until 1.00am to read it immediately, but it is important to you.  This is data made publicly available about your local hospital and CCG; you should be interested in how well they perform.

The Guide is user friendly and is your opportunity to understand a bit more about the quality of your local NHS.  If it prompts further questions from you, ask your local NHS.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Day 69: Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

When I told colleagues about my new role a few joked that I was ‘poacher turned game-keeper’ for moving from providing services to commissioning them.  I recalled those comments today when supporting colleagues updating the governance framework for our NHS 111 service.

I am proud to have been part of setting up and running an early pilot of 111 at NHS Direct as the provider for Luton. I’m now involved as commissioner overseeing the transfer from NHS Direct to a new provider.  I’m sad that NHS Direct’s closing down, but remain professional about the role I play in this now.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Day 68: A Shared Goal

Confucius said “when it is obvious that a goal cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goal, adjust the action steps”.

Project group meeting today for our aim to be paperless by 2015.  The group is made up of staff from different roles, most without a specific remit for IT or how the organisation operates; however, one thing we all have in common is a desire achieve our shared goal.

Next steps are to build the business case recognising that the technology elements will be less problematic than managing the change.  We need colleagues to buy in to our shared goal.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Day 67: Procurement Steering Group

We had a steering group meeting today for the reprocurement of our mental health, community, intermediate care and child/adolescent mental health services.  Because we are right in the middle of the procurement process, I can’t give too much detail.  However, I can say that we spent time reviewing the benefits we’re aiming to achieve through the procurement process, updating on recent activity and preparation of documentation for the next stage of the procurement.  We also reviewed whether our staff and external agencies supporting the procurement have sufficient time to support this process alongside other important work continuing at the moment.

Monday 2 December 2013

Day 66: Community Pharmacy

My week started by meeting the Chair & Chief Officer of the LPC (Local Pharmaceutical Committee).  The LPC represents the interests of community pharmacies.  We discussed some difficult issues and in particular communication with pharmacies.

In my new role, I am responsible for the Medicines Optimisation Team, whose aim is to ensure that patients get the medicines they need to achieve the greatest health outcomes for both the individual and the local community within the resources available.

It is therefore really important to us that we work closely with the LPC and many other partners to achieve this aim.