Board Matters - April 2014

Board Matters
Welcome to Board Matters
Welcome to the April edition of Board Matters.
This month’s meeting was opened with a farewell to Dr Yi Mien Koh - whose departure was announced after the last Trust Board - and a thank you for her hard work and the contribution she has made to Whittington Health. We welcomed the new chief executive, Simon Pleydell, and Siobhan Harrington who's returned to the Trust as deputy chief executive and director of strategy following a secondment. The Trust medical director, Martin Kuper, was also congratulated on his appointment as medical director at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The Board noted the recruitment process for the non executive director vacancy had been successful and the NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) would formally announce this appointment soon.

Since the last meeting, I attended our annual staff excellence awards which recognised four staff and six teams from across the organisation for their outstanding achievements in 2013. 

I am committed to hearing about patient stories - unfortunately this month's story was unable to take place. As a Board, we would like to hear a range of patient experiences, both negative and positive, so we can review areas of poor performance, learn and improve. 

Recently the Trust received some media attention in relation to a doctor being charged under female genital mutilation (FGM). We would like to apologise to our staff for the delay in updating them directly on this situation.

Steve Hitchins
Chair of Whittington Health
I would like to hear your thoughts
If you have any comments or views on any agenda items, please get in touch by clicking on the ‘email Steve’ button below or give me a ring on 0780 1106860.
 Chief executive's report    1
Chief executive Simon Pleydell introduced himself to the Board and gave a brief account of his experience spanning 15 years as a chief executive with other NHS organisations. He told the Board he was chief executive at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for nine years where he led the Trust through financial turnaround to foundation trust status while maintaining high quality care and safe services. Simon outlined his vision for the future and the importance of working in partnership with the local community.

Presenting the chief executive's report to the Board, Simon noted the opening of the ambulatory care centre which offers patients of all ages greater opportunity to have same day treatment. The centre provides a one-stop consultant led diagnostic service for patients and is a beacon of good practice, successfully demonstrating a new way of providing high-quality emergency care designed around patients' needs.

Simon told the Board the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) intelligent monitoring report was published on 13 March. The report categorises Trusts into bands of risk (with band one being the highest risk and band six the best). The report put Whittington Health into band six, an improvement on the CQC's previous report in October 2013 when we were in band four.

New chief executive,
Simon Pleydell
2   Our financial position and 14/15 savings plan 
Savings and finance detail
Chief finance officer Simon Wombwell presented the latest financial position - the Trust remained on target to deliver a break even position for 2013/14. Latest figures up to the end of February 2014 showed the organisation was on course to achieve financial balance, however, he emphasised that £8m reserves had been used to achieve this as the Trust had underdelivered on the 2013/14 savings plan. 

Like all NHS Trusts, Whittington Health faces a financially challenging year ahead (14/15). Simon told the Board that the Trust was facing a £15m Cost Improvement Programme (CIP), the same savings target as the previous year. Details of the savings plans are still being worked through. So far £11m has been identified but work continues to find a further £4m. The Trust is looking to find significant savings from a reduction in spending on agency staff and moving to a more sustainable permanent workforce. It is also examining the efficient use of its estate, but remains committed to the pledges it made after the listening exercise last year. The Board agreed that details of the full £15m savings plan would be presented at the May Board. It noted the importance of staff, patient and community engagement as well as communication of the plans. 

Staff surveys    3
The results of the national 2013 NHS staff survey and our own trust wide staff survey were presented to the Board. The Trust is committed to acting on the feedback of both surveys. Next steps include a webinar for all staff to ask questions on the results, the setting up of a steering committee to which staff and unions will be invited to design improvements and a workshop for individual areas to develop their own action plans.

Initial key development areas will focus on:
  • Improving leader visibility and communication with staff
  • Clarifying to staff the future direction of the Trust
  • Changing management behaviours to inspire and motivate staff
  • Increase staff commitment by seeking and acting on patient feedback
  • Understanding and acting where staff have reported excessive workloads
The Board noted the results of the staff surveys and the need to develop as well as communicate a clear vision for Whittington Health. We will be starting work on this over the next few months. 
Trust commit to act on feedback from surveys
4   Our performance for 2013/14 
Strong performance over 2014/15
Reflecting on the last financial year (2013/14), the Board heard the Trust had met some key national targets and there had been a number of other achievements including:
  • Meeting the four hour target for patients to be seen in our emergency department
  • Ensuring that 90 per cent of patients admitted and 95 per cent of non admitted patients started consultant led treatment within 18 weeks of referral
  • Improvements across the organisation from our enhanced recovery and improvement programme
  • Winning the contract to provide lifestyle behaviour change training sessions in surgery, cancer and diagnostics
  • More effective use of operating theatres 
The Board also heard that our new £1m tuberculosis (TB) centre which is part of the new integrated TB Service North Central London, will open on 28 April in partnership with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 
Mandatory training    5
The Board discussed the mandatory training levels within the Trust. Our current rate is 76 per cent which is favourable compared to other local trusts but 14 per cent below target. 
Chris Goulding, deputy director of HR, told the Board about the work being undertaken to improve and streamline the process including a review of the content of courses, making e-learning more user friendly and accessible and for new starters, transferring the details of completed courses at other NHS organisations across to Whittington Health. 
Process being reviewed
6   Appraisals
New single harmonised
appraisal scheme
The Board reinforced the commitment to ensure staff have regular appraisals and noted the benefit this had for both employees and the organisation. Latest figures show the number has dropped in the last couple of months although it is believed that many are not being correctly recorded.

A new harmonised single appraisal scheme will be phased in from May with an emphasis on staff member’s potential and performance over the past year. The organisation will also produce standardised templates and simplify the recording of appraisals. 
Working on it!