As Jacqui is off this week taking a well-deserved break, I have the privilege of deputising for her until Monday. It’s a timely reminder to us all to make sure we take a break and book our annual leave. It is really important that colleagues across health and social care plan some breaks into their working lives in order to rest and recharge, so I would like to encourage you all to make sure you do.
At our Executive Management Team meeting this week we talked about our preparation and assurance in relation to our next Care Quality Commission (CQC) well-led inspection. We have not yet got a date confirmed but we expect this to be soon. Our focus for this month is Back to Basics and Wellington Makala, our Chief Nurse and Executive Lead for AHPs and Psychological Professions talked us through the priorities around supervision for all colleagues, care planning and risk assessments for patients. As a healthcare provider we must be focused on ensuring we are delivering care to our patients that we would be happy for our own loved ones to receive. We talk about this a lot at our NELFT induction with new colleagues joining the Trust and it is a great reminder for those of us who have worked here for some time. The standard of care we deliver should always be the best it can be, and we all have a role in highlighting things that do not meet the best possible standard of quality.
I’d also like to thank Andrea MacKay, Associate Director of Quality Improvement and Umesh Gadhvi, Director of Informatics, who provided an update on the roll out of our New Ways of Working Programme. We had a really robust discussion about how we can ensure New Ways of Working is focused on the benefits for staff and patients, as well as supporting our transformation work and service redesign. We know that colleagues fedback the blended approach to working was one of the biggest things that made a difference to working lives during the pandemic so we must listen to this feedback and look at how we can support services across the Trust to work with colleagues and patients to look at how we can deliver the best care into the future.
On Tuesday, it was International Women’s Day and it was a great opportunity to highlight not only the incredible achievements of all the women who work in NELFT and the wider NHS, but also to highlight the challenges women still face in the workforce. This year’s theme was ‘Breaking the Bias’ and it was great to hear more across social media about how colleagues are committing to challenge the status quo and break the bias. I would like to thank Pav Devsi, Director of Procurement and chair of our WoMen’s Network, as well as network members and our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team for setting up the online International Women’s Day event. I was pleased so many colleagues were able to attend to mark the occasion.
International Women’s Day has been a time for reflection for me. I am immensely proud of my achievements, particularly as the world of the Medical Director is still very much male dominated, despite more than fifty percent of the medical student intake being women. I vividly remember my first Medical Director conference- I was one of a handful of women in a room full of men in suits! I hope to be a role model and show that as a woman you can fulfil your dreams, have a career and children. As the mum of three daughters , I hope that they will find it easier to follow their dreams and that the gender bias significantly reduces by the time they are making their way up the career ladder.
I will end this week by thanking you all for the work you are doing to support improved outcomes for our patients and to remind you all to look after your own health and wellbeing.
Dr Caroline Allum