Q: What made you want to come and work at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust?
A: I have been in the NHS for 37 years, and a Chief Executive for 16 years. I joined ULHT from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), having been their Chief Executive since 2014. LCHS is rated Outstanding by the CQC. When ULHT struggled to appoint a new Chief Executive, I offered to step in and help as I know the area, the issues and already work really closely with the Chair Elaine Baylis, as she is also chair of LCHS. My offer was accepted by both Elaine and NHS Improvement. I was delighted to step across.
Q: What are your first impressions of ULHT?
A: I have been here a couple of months and I’ve been made to feel very welcome. I’ve been getting out and about a lot, meeting lots of people and trying to get to know the services. I’ve met some really lovely people who have been very welcoming, very committed and full of ideas. My job now is to help them make those ideas happen.
Q: What do you believe is the key to ULHT’s future success?
A: Healthcare is a people business. We will undoubtedly achieve what we want to achieve because of people. I genuinely believe that a happy, motivated, well-led workforce that feel good about themselves and the organisation will deliver high quality services. We therefore need to focus on staff morale and wellbeing and leadership development and in turn this will lead to quality improvement.
Q: What are your plans and areas of focus for the next few months?
A: I have been quite clear with everyone I meet about what my priorities are for the coming months. I am focussing on:
1) The quality and safety agenda– Making sure that we provide high quality, safe, personalised care. By prioritising quality and safety and formalising our approach to continuous quality improvement we will get out of quality special measures.
2) People and organisational development– It’s about recruitment and retention, leadership development, behaviour, culture and talent management, improving staff morale and staff survey results.
3) Strategy – We need to have a compelling vision and story about what we are trying to do, which paints a sustainable future for the Trust. We need to make sure our staff understand and know their part in our vision, and it also needs to be consistent with the Lincolnshire-wide plans and include detail on how we will deliver.
4) Scores on the doors– Making sure we get our performance right and meet NHS constitutional standards around A&E, cancer waits, waiting lists and waiting times.
5) Finance – Delivering the financial plan that the Trust Board has signed up to.
6) Executive Team – Having an effective Executive Team.
By the end of this financial year, I’m aiming for us to have exited quality special measures, to have delivered our £70.3 million deficit financial plan, to have delivered improved A&E performance and received better staff survey results. If we could have achieved all of these things I would be more than happy.
Q: Is this vision realistic?
A: There is nothing I have seen here at ULHT that I have not seen in other places I have been, and there’s nothing I have seen which I don’t know how to resolve. There have been no ‘what on earth’ moments. But there is lots to be done, and the issue is doing it in the right sequence. We need to give people hope and tell the story- helping people see that the issues really are resolvable and supporting them to make the necessary changes.
Q: How are we going to take this forward?
A: There are three things:
- Intent- we need to be clear on our plans and simplify them- we have over-complicated things in the past.
- Capacity and capability- We need to look at whether we have the right number of people, equipment, buildings and money. Exploring whether we are using them right and whether our people have the right skills and behaviours. This needs to include investment in leadership development.
- Delivery- We need to focus on delivering the plans that we set. Too often we focus on having plans, but fail to deliver them and take too long to deliver them. We need to get on with it.