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Chairman's Bulletin March 2015

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I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to my first bulletin as Chairman. Having been a Non-Executive Director for five years, I am delighted and honoured to have taken over from Peter Mount, who did such a wonderful job of leading our organisation.

I'd like to begin by thanking everyone who attended our annual planning workshop in late January.  It was a very productive session, giving Governors opportunities to comment on the quality reporting process and key priorities for our forthcoming 2015/16 annual plan.  Your contributions, along with the communication campaign with members which generated a lot of comment and input, are very much appreciated and valued.

It was also good to see so many Governors at the Performance Review meeting on Wednesday 25th February.  We had the opportunity to review the Intelligent Board reports and actively discuss the issues arising. The Performance Review meeting makes an important contribution to your key role of seeking assurance about the way the Trust is operating.

Later today at the Council of Governors (Wednesday, 4th March 2015), we'll have a number of key presentations, including one updating you on the historical announcement last Friday regarding the Greater Manchester devolution and what it may mean for CMFT.  As you know, the NHS and the Trust is in for a very challenging time in the months and years ahead.  It is ever more vital that we all work together as one inclusive team to ensure we deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients, service users and residents.  Over the coming months I'll be working hard to ensure we get the best out of the devolution agenda for the people of Greater Manchester and will be looking for your support in achieving this.

We are also changing the CoG's format slightly in relation to the Chairs of working groups making their reports.  I'm keen to make this part of the meeting more interactive, and would ask you to share any ideas and comments so we can develop discussion around key issues and actions reported by the Chairs.

The annual Governor questionnaire is also another helpful way to elicit your views on a number of issues. This year we are asking additional questions about what you think of the structure of current Governor meetings, and your feedback is very important moving forward.

During my first few weeks in office I've had many opportunities to talk to patients and see our staff in action, as well as representing the Trust in an official capacity on a number of occasions.  Most recently was the official opening of Head and Neck services in the Peter Mount Building (formerly Edale House), together with Professor Richard Ramsden.  This has enabled ENT, Audiology, and Maxillofacial Surgery to be brought together in one location.  The building is home to the new Hearing Implant Centre, which has been assisted by a substantial donation of over £700,000 from the HEAR charity.

I recently attended the Saint Mary's Centre 13th Annual Conference. This year's theme is 'Rape, the brain and mental health: Impact, services and care for victims'. The conference is well received every year and continues to promote the strengths and benefits of close partnership working between a range of agencies, service providers and voluntary services. I chaired the morning session of the conference and I was privileged to hear presentations from the Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy and Dr Catherine White, Clinical Director of SARC but the most powerful presentation of all was a video of four brave victims who spoke movingly and informatively about their experiences and the response of the various agencies. It will like long in the memory of all who were there.

A couple of other exciting initiatives have been the Perfect Week, which has proved an invaluable exercise for the Trust. It was launched in response to the significant operational difficulties we, along with many other healthcare organisations, are currently facing due to the increased demand for acute care.  As a result, we should be able to identify a number of improvements which will help to support patient flow throughout our hospitals.

The second important development is the next stage of our transformation agenda,  the Transforming Care for the Future which was launched on the 23rd February. This innovative programme is designed to help us reach the top 10% of Trusts in the country for quality, which encompasses operational efficiency, patient outcomes and patient experience, as well as safety and staff experience. We'll hear more about this at the next Council of Governors in early July.

Care quality in the wider NHS remains the subject of considerable discussion and debate.  The recent report by Sir Robert Francis QC has highlighted progress made in implementing his recommendations on changing the culture of the NHS post Mid Staffs.  He has also proposed new safeguards for NHS staff whistle-blowers who report poor care.  Our Trust has effective policies in place to share concerns and learn from mistakes, and we welcome Sir Robert's recommendations, which have been fully endorsed by the Secretary of State for Health.

Mr Hunt has also announced new plans to reduce the number of "avoidable deaths" in English hospitals.  He said an annual review of 2,000 cases of patients who later died would allow hospitals to be ranked according to avoidable mortality rates.  More details are awaited on this proposal.

Finally, I'm keen to get to know Governors better and understand how I can assist you in representing your constituents.  Member engagement is also one of my key priorities, and I hope you're all finding the materials in the Member Engagement Packs useful.  Sharing your experiences of setting up engagement opportunities will be very valuable, and we can all benefit from building on success stories.

Please continue to read about the various achievements across the Trust in this bulletin and if I can assist you in your role at any time please call me on 0161 276 8661 or email me at steve.mycio@cmft.nhs.uk