Leadership Blog October 2023

Our Chief Executive Sara Munro's leadership blog for October 2023.

Dr Sara Munro, Chief ExecutiveI returned from my summer break in September feeling refreshed and ready to continue sharing inspiring stories and updates from across LYPFT with all of you. Taking the reins of the leadership blog back from Dawn, who did an excellent job with the August blog, I’m writing to bring you another round of updates and highlights from our colleagues across the Trust. The past couple of months have been busier than ever, and while it’s impossible to cover everything, I can give a snapshot of the work our teams have been involved in.

Listening, acting and improving

Listening to our colleagues and continuously making improvements for the communities we serve has been at the forefront of my mind and is of particular importance given the recent headlines. It’s essential that we continue to support and advocate for our open culture of speaking up when we have concerns. We must ensure we focus on learning lessons, all the while embedding our culture of continuous improvement.

The distressing revelations surrounding the appalling crimes committed by Lucy Letby have shocked and saddened colleagues at LYPFT and across the health service. My heart goes out to the families whose lives have been shattered by the unimaginable pain and suffering they have endured. It is essential that everyone working at LYPFT feels safe and confident to speak up and is listened to when they do. They must be taken seriously so that the resulting improvements can benefit us all.

Our colleagues are being encouraged to access our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian if they don’t feel able to speak to their line manager or a colleague. I am delighted Shereen Robinson has now started in post, replacing John who retires this month. Shereen can be contacted on the same email address and phone number and will be out and about over the next few weeks to meet as many teams as possible.

Hearing the views of our workforce is as important as it has ever been. In case you missed our many reminders, this year’s NHS Staff Survey is now open – one of the biggest employee surveys in the world. It is a hugely important measure of our colleagues’ experience of working here over the last 12 months and to measure the impact of the work we are doing to support and develop our people, in line with our People Plan. I want everybody to take part so the feedback is truly representative of everyone that works in the Trust – there will be plenty more reminders to follow. The people engagement team are also visiting sites to encourage colleagues to complete the survey and respond to any questions.

Looking to our care services, one of the improvement areas we’re focussing on is within our Forensic Services. Our low secure forensic services play a critical role in providing specialised care and support to individuals who have transitioned from medium secure care, those transferring from the prison system, and on pathways from adult mental health services. We ran a listening exercise earlier this year which has resulted in a clear and robust action plan, led by Medical Director Dr Chris Hosker and Deputy COO Mark Dodd. I look forward to reporting back to you very soon on how it’s going.

Take action make impact

As I write this blog, we’re wrapping up National Inclusion Week 2023 and the theme of “Take Action Make Impact” has been a call to action for everyone in our organisation. This is very much on my mind as we shine a spotlight on inclusion and reflect on our culture. My journey in mental health began with a heartfelt commitment to tackle the stigma, discrimination, and exclusion that have long affected individuals and their families and I’m more dedicated than ever to nurturing an inclusive culture at LYPFT where our exceptional staff and service users are not only heard but also feel safe, supported, and valued as individuals. Leading by example is a powerful force for change, and that’s why I take pride in sponsoring the Workforce Race Equality Network. I also encourage each one of our colleagues to pledge to become Inclusion Allies. I look forward to continuing our discussions long into the future and the solid and impactful action which I hope comes as a result.

To improve what we do at LYPFT we acknowledge that we need to tap into the collective wisdom, diverse perspectives, and innovative ideas that thrive within our organisation. Earlier this month, our dedicated leadership teams gathered for another session focussed on nurturing a culture of Collective Leadership. This work is about recognising that leadership is not confined to a select few but can be found in every corner of our NHS Trust. These discussions highlighted this work’s pivotal role in shaping our organisational culture. I look forward to what the future brings!

Looking ahead

October marks a year of industrial action in the NHS and each period of strike action gets more challenging and the risks to patient safety are greater. Recently, both junior doctors and consultant medics took industrial action at the same time. Our colleagues overseeing the management of the industrial action continue to do an outstanding job of robust planning, ongoing engagement, and communication to support all those affected, including colleagues and service users. Thank you to everyone pulling together. Our whole organisation is demonstrating their commitment to delivering safe and effective care for our service users.

As October ushers in a change in weather and shorter days, we’re also looking ahead to the winter months – traditionally a demanding period for the NHS. Our vaccination program is in full swing, with colleagues receiving invitations to safeguard themselves and those they care for through flu and Covid-19 vaccinations. Their commitment to protecting others is commendable, and I urge all those eligible to join in safeguarding our health services and come forward for their winter vaccinations. Together with our #TeamLeeds partners, we will be working hard to encourage our service users to make informed choices about NHS services during this season, helping to minimise the strain on our emergency departments and guaranteeing timely care when it’s needed most.

The future of our buildings

Looking even further ahead, colleagues have been hard at work planning for changes to our estates and facilities – our buildings and the services that ensure they remain safe and functional – set to happen in 2028. These plans involve seven of our buildings in Leeds that are managed under Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts (a financing approach where we partner with private companies to fund and manage some of the buildings we use). When the leases for these buildings come to an end, we won’t automatically retain ownership of these buildings, so we’re now exploring options to acquire these buildings in 2028 in line with the direction we have been given from NHSE. This effort is part of our ongoing commitment to improve our estate, aligning with our Care Services Strategic Plan, while operating within our financial constraints. We’re immensely grateful to all colleagues involved in this important initiative.

Reasons to be proud

Once again it has been an action-packed couple of months and there’s so many reasons to be proud of what we’re doing here at LYPFT.

Our health and well-being initiative recognised

The Trust was a finalist for having the Best Health and Well-being initiative at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) People Management Awards 2023, which took place on Thursday 21 September.

Reacting to the result our Associate Director of People Employment, Holly Tetley (pictured at the awards ceremony above far left with her colleagues), said:

“Although we didn’t win the award, we are still proud to be recognised as a Trust for our health and wellbeing offer.

“The wellbeing of our people is so important to us as they can deliver high quality care to some of the most vulnerable people in society day in, day out.

“As we set out in our People Plan, we want our people to be safe, healthy and well both physically and psychologically. And this award backs that up.

Perinatal team on the road

Our Perinatal team have been out and about promoting the mental health support for new mothers and their families.

The team organised the Perinatal Family Teddy Bears Picnic at Sikh Sports Centre in Leeds in August, a fun day to showcase the support available for perinatal service families in our communities in Leeds. There was even a surprise visit from a real(ish) bear!

The team was at the Rethink #Leedsmen event at Kirkgate Market in September providing useful info to help support the health and wellbeing of men and dads.

They’ve also been hard at work on three new short films which show how they can help mums, dads and partners with their mental wellbeing before, during and after pregnancy. These were showcased on big screens at White Rose Shopping Centre where the team spoke to over 300 people raising awareness of our services.

LYPFT's perinatal service at the White Rose Shopping Centre

Big Thank You concluded

The summer of celebrating NHS 75 and holding our Big Thank You Festival events has now come to an end with lots of fantastic footage, pictures and feedback from all the teams who took the opportunity to get together and show their appreciation for the work they do. We’re already planning events for the rest of the year and into 2024!

There has also been a range of other award news…

  • Synergi Leeds was shortlisted for two HSJ Awards in Mental Health Innovation of the Year and NHS Race Equality Standard
  • Leeds Perinatal Services was shortlisted for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards for Psychiatric Team of the Year: Working-Age Adults.
  • Our young people’s inpatient service Red Kite View has been nominated at The Annual Brick Awards by Brick Development Association for sustainability
  • LYPFT has been shortlisted at this year’s English Veterans Awards for Employer of the Year.