Sara's blog for January 2020

Here’s our chief executive Sara Munro’s blog for January 2020.

Dr Sara MunroHello,

And welcome to my first blog of 2020 – I can’t quite believe we’ve entered a new decade.

I hope you all had the opportunity to take a well-earned break over Christmas. My thanks again to all those staff that put shifts in during the holidays – we are grateful to you for your dedication to patient care.

During the festive holidays I visited all the wards, the Crisis Assessment Unit and crisis home treatment team at the Becklin Centre and Parkside Lodge. This was a good opportunity to catch up with staff and fund out what plans they had for service users staff and carers to get involved in festive activities.

Investing in your mental wellbeing for 2020

If you are thinking about investing in your mental wellbeing, maybe as part of a New Year pledge to yourself, then have a look at what our Recovery College is offering. They’ve published their new timetable for spring 2020 which includes short and longer programmes on improving awareness of health conditions and learning how to look after yourself.


Our focus on staff wellbeing

We held two online conversations open to all our staff last autumn as part of our Improving Culture: Improving Lives programme (which I’ve blogged about before).

We’ve now looked at the feedback and come up with six key themes that we’re going to be taking forward in 2020. They are:

  1. We need a diverse group of inspiring managers and leaders across the organisation, and to develop them in a consistent, supportive and fair way to positively influence culture.
  2. Everyone should feel empowered to make decisions and/or improvements in their teams, using their knowledge and creative ideas.
  3. We need clear pathways that help us fulfil our career progression and development ambitions.
  4. Everyone needs to be appreciated for their hard work, valued for their skills, and recognised for their achievements.
  5. Flexible working processes need to be easy to implement across all levels of the organisation.
  6. Bullying and harassment needs to be stamped out. Everyone should be treated fairly and with respect.

We’re holding a couple of face-to-face workshops in February and March to test these with staff and start getting some ideas on how we can address them. Improving our staff culture is so important and it’s great to have a clear idea of what would make the most difference to staff.


We got Good

I’m absolutely delighted that as a Trust we have been rated as Good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following their inspection throughout 2019.  Our final reports were released just before Christmas – you can find them here.

This rating is very well deserved by all our staff and has been achieved through continuous hard work, living our Trust values and working with our many partners.  We’ve had lots of great feedback from peers and colleagues including National Director for Mental Health Claire Murdoch.

Staff are equally delighted in those services that saw their ratings move to good this time – specifically acute inpatient, psychiatric intensive care and forensic services. I want to pass on my thanks to all our staff and to the central team led by our Director of Nursing Cathy Woffendin which managed the whole process and supported our services every step of the way.


Fire Safety improvements

We got an unannounced inspection from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in December. They’ve reviewed the steps we’ve taken following a number of fire incidents and have praised our efforts to improve our fire safety practices.

The work to improve fire safety has involved our estates and facilities team, clinical and operational leads plus support from Leeds Teaching Hospitals – thank you for your efforts.


Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Collaborative Update

The five year strategy for the mental health learning disability collaborative programme covering West Yorkshire is out – you can read it here.

We’ve had a number of high level meetings between us all in the last two months. I’ve pulled out a few key areas that we’ve been focusing on below:

  • We’ve been successful in a bid for devolved responsibility for the adult eating disorders new care model from 1 April 2020. That means we’ll take control of the budgets and some commissioning responsibilities from NHS England (see reasons to be proud below);
  • We’re developing our model for Assessment and Treatment Unit provision for West Yorkshire and we’ll be consulting widely on this from February;
  • We’ll be developing a West Yorkshire-wide suicide prevention public awareness campaign over the next few months; and
  • We’ve launched recruitment campaigns for psychiatry, mental health and learning disability nursing mainly using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In.


Progress on new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Unit for West Yorkshire

The new CAMHS unit is becoming a reality after we got planning permission from Leeds City Council in December. Contractors are now on site demolishing old buildings and putting in place the infrastructure for the new unit.  More about that here.

The new unit will be built on our St Mary’s Hospital site in Armley, Leeds, providing 22 inpatient beds and much needed improvements and facilities for children and young people across West Yorkshire.

We’ll continue to work closely with Leeds Community Healthcare Trust on this project and have already agreed to schedule three joint board sessions in during 2020.


Reasons to be proud

Fab’s NICE scholarship

Senior Clinical Audit Facilitator Fabrizio Girolomini has been successful with his application for a National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) Scholarship. The scholarship is a national project and Fab is one of 10 successful candidates.

NICE Scholarships are one-year opportunities to find out about the inner workings of our national clinical guidance agency. The scholar undertakes a supported improvement project, related to NICE guidance within the Trust.

New gambling addiction clinic opens in Sunderland

The NHS Northern Gambling Service opened a new clinic in Sunderland on 8 January covering the North East of England. You can read the full announcement here, and, if you were in any doubt over the need for this service, watch Steve Ramsey’s story in this short video.

This marks another successful achievement for our new specialist service and with gambling addiction issues rarely out of the headlines, it’s clearly much needed. Well done to clinical lead Matthew Gaskell and his team for their continued hard work. We look forward to the new clinic opening in Manchester soon!


Eating disorders service gets four year contract

As I mentioned above, the CONNECT West Yorkshire Adult Eating Disorder Service has been given the go ahead to take on a formal four year contract with devolved responsibility for the specialist commissioning budget for West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

This comes following a two year pilot which has seen the service achieve fantastic outcomes for service users by investing more resources into community services and thereby reducing number of admissions and length of stay.

This is the first new care model to get the formal go ahead in our region and the learning will influence the development of subsequent bids for CAMHS and Forensic services over the coming months.


Find out more about our Chief Executive Dr Sara Munro here.