Sue's post board blog January 2020

Our Chair Professor Sue Proctor blogs following the meeting of our Trust Board on 20 January 2020.

Professor Sue Proctor


Welcome to my first post board blog of 2020 following the Trust Board meeting on Thursday 30 January (full agenda and papers can be found here).

Our first service user story of the year came from Lisa Cromack who’s been accessing our Specialised Supported Living Service.

Lisa (pictured below) has just secured a job with our Learning Disability Involvement Team, and we were treated to a wonderful presentation from her, supported by colleagues from the service.

Lisa Cromack

You can read Lisa’s story in her presentation here.

This is a fantastic example of the Trust living up to its ambition of supporting our service users to live healthy and fulfilling lives and to achieve their goals.

I would like to commend Lisa, her support worker Amy and service manager Gill Galea for their commitment to improving the health and lives of our service users.


Flu jab uptake exceeds 80%

A big well done to our Infection Prevention and Control Team who’ve reported that 83% of our staff (that’s over 2,000 people) have received the flu vaccine this year. This is a brilliant achievement as it means we are protecting our service users and each other.

It also means we receive a cash injection (pun intended) from our commissioners for achieving the national 80% target. So, a win win!

Bank staff engagement

Sara Munro presented her chief exec’s report, in which she mentioned that we’d received our latest staff survey results. We can’t talk about them in too much detail yet as all the reports are embargoed until later in February.

However it is worth mentioning that we took the decision to survey our 500-strong cohort of bank staff – from which we got a 26% response rate. I’m proud to see we’re taking engagement with bank staff seriously, and I hope this response rate increases in future surveys. They are an integral part of our workforce.

The feedback we’re getting from bank staff has highlighted a number of communications issues, notably how they access information such as training opportunities. This will be picked up through our bank staffing forum.

Our bank and temporary staffing service offers a flexible way of working with ad-hoc placements and occasionally the potential for longer full and part-time bookings. If you’re interested in working for us this way, find out more here or watch is short video featuring Sajimon Madathil, our Clinical Lead for Bank Staffing.


Quality and performance update

Image showing good performance from our Perinatal serviceThere is some good news to report from quarter three (October to December 2019) including a number of services achieving their access standards or targets. The highlights include 80% of patients being seen by the Early Intervention in Psychosis team within 14 days, and 100% of mums classed as urgent being seen within 48 hours by our perinatal community service.

We have also seen an overall reduction in the number of bed days used for inappropriate out of area placements as the length of time people spend in out of area beds has reduced.

However the need to use out of area beds remains as we continue to have high bed occupancy rates and delayed discharges from our inpatient units.

I was concerned to see some poor performance on timely communication with GPs – for example sharing discharge summaries with them. Our Chief Operating Officer Joanna Forster Adams said there were a number of reasons for this including getting hold of pharmacy data quickly and all staff using our BigHand dictation software effectively. Plus, just simply having the time and capacity to get all the work done can be a challenge.

It’s now been set as an improvement objective for all our inpatient consultants and I’m looking forward to receiving an update at our next Board meeting.

Our Non-Executive Director Margaret Sentamu was pleased to see we’d appointed a new Health and Wellbeing Manager who will be focusing on supporting staff to reduce sickness absence, particularly in relation to mental health problems. We need to look after our care givers, and I’m pleased to see this dedicated role come in.

Helen Grantham (non-exec) welcomed the additional investment we’ve received to increase the capacity of our crisis and home treatment offer. This will increase the number of peer support workers and older people’s practitioners. Of particular note is that we are actively recruiting a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) development role for the Crisis Resolution and Intensive Support Service (CRISS). This role will focus on access and delivery of crisis and home treatment services for people from BAME groups who continue to be over-represented in rates of admission and detention to mental health wards nationally.

Finally, a heads up that by the next time I blog, we’ll have implemented our new CareDirector electronic patient record system. This is a huge undertaking and we’re all excited about the benefits it will bring. However, we expect there will be a bit of a gap in data quality and availability during quarter four as we make the switch over between systems.

Going smoke-free, vaping and e-cigarettes – update following pilot project

Going smoke-free across all NHS sites is a policy that’s been around for years, yet mental health trusts like us really struggle with it. It’s a big cultural shift for staff and for service users and we shouldn’t underestimate it.

Smoking is the nation’s biggest killer. So supporting service users to go smoke free is clearly the right thing to do. With the advent of e-cigarettes and now vaping, healthier (but not entirely healthy) alternatives to tobacco are now available.

The Board received a comprehensive report on the results from a six month pilot project which included the use of e-cigarettes and vaping at our Newsam Centre. Results show the pilot was successful with benefits for service user’s physical health and a reduction in fire-related incidents. However, there are areas where changes are required prior to roll out across other sites. My Board colleagues are concerned that only focusing on one site could create inequity and are keen we roll this out quickly.

A final position on using e-cigarettes in bedrooms is expected later in the year. The complication is that the Trust does not own all its buildings, so we have to negotiate with our landlords.

The Board commended the pilot work and agreed to continue the programme at the Newsam Centre but stressed they are keen to see this introduced universally across inpatient wards.

Finance update

We received an update from our Chief Financial Officer Dawn Hanwell. Putting it briefly, we’re reporting a surplus position of £1.3 million, which is around £600,000 ahead of plan at month 9 (December 2019).

As we are part of a collaborative system-wide group of NHS trusts across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, some of this surplus will be used to help other trusts who are struggling. This is all part of the NHS’ attempt to collaborate more, and compete less.


Read more about our Chair Professor Sue Proctor here.