Well, what better time to start my weekly blog than during our Thank You Fest 21. Thank You Week has really got our NELFT Thank You Fest off to a great start. I have loved seeing all the photos and posts on social media, especially the ones where colleagues have included family members and even pets! Our Thank You Fest is an opportunity for us to thank our colleagues for all they do for NELFT and the wider NHS and through our month of virtual events we hope that colleagues will join with their loved ones in order to have a few moments of fun away from the pressures of working life.
It's a busy September here at NELFT and more widely across the NHS. This week is #PrideInTheNHS week and This year’s theme is Elevate, Educate, Celebrate. In recognition of this on behalf of our NELFT LGBT+ Staff Network our teams are encouraged to hold an LGBTea Break this week and use it as an opportunity to reflect on our LGBT+ inclusion practices in a relaxed setting (physical where it’s safe to do so or virtual) over a cup of tea and cake and to have a LGBT+ focused discussion to support learning.
I am really pleased to see, not only the work of our amazing LGBT+ Staff Network, but also our colleagues who have taken part in the week by sharing their stories. Hearing Nihal from our Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service sharing her experience and desire to support other colleagues to feel safe and comfortable being their true selves at work was really inspirational and I am grateful to Nihal for being so open and for NHS East of England for capturing this and sharing.
It is also Patient Safety Month across the Trust in the run up to World Patient Safety Day on 17 September. We will be launching our Patient Safety Strategy 2021 on this day and our Quality and Patient Safety department will be hosting a dedicated webinar, as well as showcasing several initiatives throughout the rest of the month. Patient safety is the responsibility of us all, and it is imperative that we all continue to work together to improve the way we learn, support colleagues and involve our patients and carers in patient safety.
As a mental health services provider, suicide prevention is an important part of our approach to patient safety and on World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday we will be launching our NELFT Suicide Prevention Strategy that has eight domains that include a focus on reducing suicide rates and supporting those affected by suicide. It is so important that we can be open and talk about suicide, encouraging others to do the same and to seek support. Thank you to Dr Vincent Perry and the team who have worked so hard on the new strategy.
This week at our Executive Management Team meeting we had a focused session with Melody Williams and Dr Mohan Bhat from the Barking and Dagenham Integrated Care Directorate leadership team who gave an update on the work happening across the borough, as well as with our colleagues in Barnet and our North East London wide services such as Keeping Well NEL. It was great to hear about the innovation and the staff engagement work that has been taking place as well as reflecting on some of the challenges that we can work together to address, particularly around recruitment. I would like to personally thank all of our colleagues across the directorate for working so hard to deliver the best care by the best people.
In keeping with our busy September theme, this week we have been recognised nationally across another two areas and this sits alongside our four HSJ awards nominations! We have been shortlisted in the NHS Communicate national awards, run by NHS Confederation and NHS Providers, for Board Commitment to Communications. This is well deserved recognition for our Communications and Engagement team who have worked tirelessly but not without huge creativity throughout the last 18 months and as a Board we are delighted NELFT has been shortlisted.
And we have also been named in the Top 10 Employers for Working Families alongside organisations such as American Express, Grant Thornton and the NatWest Group. This recognises the work taking place to improve and embed our Just and Compassionate Culture, how we are supporting colleagues with our policies and procedures in order to be more family friendly and lots more of our initiatives being led through our HR department. We know we can always do more to improve the working lives of colleagues but I am so pleased the work we have already done has been recognised.
Professor Oliver Shanley OBE