Well, what a year it has been. Having started as Chief Executive at ULHT back in the summer, there have been a whole host of people to meet and services to get to know.
One of my goals when I first started at the Trust was to make sure that I got out and about to meet as many of our staff as possible. They are our most important asset, and without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the best possible care to the people of Lincolnshire.
The Board and I are really proud of how hard everyone works at ULHT. We know that it has been another challenging and difficult year but the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff is incredibly inspiring and I am often in awe of the work that they do.
It’s really important that we celebrate the good stuff, and whilst we know that we don’t always get it right, there is plenty to shout about.
Our response rate to the latest National Staff Survey has shown an increase. For me, this signals a shift. We want our staff to be confident and comfortable in telling us how it feels to work at ULHT and what things get in the way of them doing a good job.
We won’t know the outcome of the survey until early next year but I really hope we can build on this to better the work life of our staff and, in turn, improve the care we deliver to our patients.
As well as this, we have had some great estates and service developments over the past year. Our new breast unit at Lincoln County Hospital is modern and welcoming, ensuring our patients are seen and treated in the best clinical environments.
Our commitment to improvement has also seen us launch our Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Faculty. This means that we have accredited facilitators who are there to help our staff own the improvements they want to make in their areas.
Across all of our sites, we have also seen a significant amount of work on upgrading fire doors and systems. Not only has this been a huge safety improvement, but it’s really brightened up some of the corridors across our hospitals.
More recently, we have introduced a new pharmacy robot to our hospitals, making it quicker and more efficient to dispense medication to our patients. Investment in digital technology for the NHS is key to us being able to provide up-to-date and effective services.
2019 also saw staff from across the organisation awarded for their ongoing commitment to care in our own Staff Awards and at the Lincolnshire Health Awards. Showcasing what our staff do and recognising them publicly is so important.
After a turbulent start, we’re also pleased that our car parking system is now much improved. The new, modernised system is easier to use, provides many different payment options and reduces queuing. We’d really like to thank everyone for their patience and co-operation during and after its implementation. We know that much more investment is needed and will be looking to make even more enhancements in the year ahead.
Meanwhile, we have also been under some scrutiny. Our latest report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was disappointing as we had not made the progress we wanted. We know that there is more we have to do and are determined to take their feedback and make significant improvements across the Trust, for the benefit of our staff and patients.
There is a lot of work to be done, but I know that by working together as one Trust we can make a real difference to the services we provide.
Looking ahead to 2020, we will be focussing on implementing our improvement plan, making the Trust a better place to work, improving our facilities, and making progress in tackling our financial problems. We will work with our partners across health and social care in Lincolnshire to provide better health and better care. That is our promise to everyone in Lincolnshire.