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Chairman's Bulletin April 2014

Chairman's Bulletin Banner April 14

Welcome to the April e-bulletin, and at the start of our new financial year I would like to begin by reflecting on 2013/14, a year in which all our staff have shown great dedication and worked extremely hard to meet the financial and service quality challenges facing the NHS.

Thanks to a focus on delivering safe, high quality care efficiently and prudent management of our resources, at the year-end we had a surplus of £3,323k on a turnover of approx £850 million.  The three main issues that impacted most significantly on our 2013/14 financial position were:

  • a shortfall against delivery of our savings plans
  • overspends on medical staffing costs
  • non-delivery of elements of the elective income plan.

Key areas our management teams will address in 2014/15 include:

  • on-going work to get plans in place to deliver savings
  • ensuring medical staffing costs are brought into line with budgets
  • budgets are managed to remove the risks of in year cost pressures
  • managing our capacity to deliver on the activity plans.

Finance is just one of the areas covered in the operational plan we develop each year, setting out how we will continue to deliver and improve our services over the coming two years.  The plan shows the changes that we want to make, how they will be funded and how we will ensure that we have the right staff in place to deliver all of our commitments.  Governors have made an important contribution, and you can access our Operational Plan (2014-16) via the website or alternatively please contact Donna Beddows on 0161 276 8661 for a hard copy.

Providing the best quality care remains a key priority for 2014/15 and our newly introduced programme of Quality Reviews across all our Divisions is highlighting both areas of good practice and opportunities for improvement. Every Division together with Sodexo colleagues have been involved, and the feedback from staff has been positive.

Areas of excellence include: strong and supportive leadership, clinical effectiveness, staff who are proud, kind and caring in their work, effective handovers between staff, listening to patients and acting on feedback, good induction of new staff and patient safety awareness. Opportunities for improvement include: long recruitment timescales, poor experience for patients due to environment or communication issues, some overly complex surgical admission procedures, liaison between Divisions on planning theatre lists, waiting times, compliance with infection control procedures and learning from patient mortality.

None of this excellent care could be delivered without the skills and commitment of all our staff.  To ensure our employment policies and practices are fair and effective and promote equality of opportunity, we have launched a new Staff Equality Information Tool.  This will enable staff to update their personal details so that we have an accurate and complete profile of our workforce.

Comments and complaints from patients are an important opportunity to learn and to improve the quality of care. Since the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, complaint handling has been a focus of concern nationally.  In line with national trends, our Trust has seen a steady increase in both the number of formal written complaints and the number of informal PALS contacts. We are undertaking an internal review of the PALS and Complaints service, based on the themes from the national Clwyd-Hart review into complaints handling (published in October 2013).

The review has been launched as the 'Tell us about it…' project, with three work programmes (Tell me Today; Listening and Responding; Never Again) overseen by a steering group. We want to make sure our patients and families understand that we take their concerns seriously and to be recognised as an organisation that learns from our mistakes.

We are also ensuring staff have the opportunity to provide their feedback via the national Friends and Family Test (FFT) at least once a year.  The FFT asks how likely patients and staff are to recommend the services they have received, or work in, to friends and family who need similar treatment or care. The majority of staff will be asked to complete the FFT from April to June this year.

If you wish to discuss any of the topics I have covered in more detail, or I can be of any assistance to you in your role as Governor, do please contact me on 0161 276 8661 or at peter.mount@cmft.nhs.uk.