Improving Together - CEO Caroline Donovan's Blog - 20 November | News and events

Improving Together - CEO Caroline Donovan's Blog - 20 November

Hello everyone.  

Here is my second blog which focuses on my reflections of my first couple of weeks in post as your new CEO.  

I have enjoyed meeting so many people – staff, service users, carers and partners. I have been struck by how enthusiastic everyone is and the very real commitment from all to our continuing improvement journey.  I have received a very warm welcome from everyone I have met, so a genuine thank-you to you all.  

This enthusiasm was obvious at our recent AGM (7th November) which was a really informative and enjoyable event. You can read more about the AGM here . 

NSFT staff at the Trust's Annual General Meeting, gathered around the governors stand

Big thanks to everyone who attended, and to the many people who worked hard to make it such a success, especially staff, service users and others with lived experience who attended to either showcase their services and initiatives, or to find out more about our work. For example, I loved talking to Carl Coughlin and hearing more about his work helping us to improve support and experiences for people with personality disorders by providing training for our staff. It was great also to speak to Dr Sophie Bagge, Lived Experience Lead for Models of Care+, and Robyn Ward, Head of Carers Participation and Experience, and hear about the work with ‘Hospital Rooms’, a group of professional artists working with service users to produce artwork for the Rivers Centre development. And Annie Tallis, a carer who attended to provide information on the collaboration with Healthwatch on their programme for people with serious mental illness. There was such a positive feel to the whole event but also an honesty about the improvement journey we are on.  

The highlight last week, of course, was the Annual Staff Excellence Awards. The event took place on Thursday 16th November at a glittering ceremony in Trinity Park, Ipswich. More than 200 people were in attendance to hear the results of the winners in 10 categories, including a Special Recognition Award. 

NSFT Staff Excellence Awards ceremony 16 November at Trinity Park

I was delighted to hear that this year, there was a record-breaking 460 nominations from across the Trust – proof indeed of the commitment, calibre and compassion of our workforce. The judges – directors, non-executives and people with lived experience – had an almost impossible task. Huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated, shortlisted and won. You are all doing a brilliant job – please keep doing it. Sincere thanks to our communications team for organising such an effective scheme and fantastic presentation event. Well done everybody. Read more here .  

And it’s not just in-house awards we are celebrating. Nurse consultant Kumar Ponnusamy won a national RCN Nursing Award in the Nursing Older People category last week.  A collaboration between NSFT researchers, Eastern Academic Health Science Network and BFB Labs was named the winner of the ‘outstanding contribution to population health through innovation’ at the recent, annual Innovate Awards. Priscilla Nzounhenda, our Deputy Lead Nurse for Secure Services and co-chair of the BME Staff Network was one of four black women nationally to give her reflections on her challenges and achievements as part of Black History Month – Saluting our Sisters. Congratulations to all. You can read more here . 

I mentioned in my last blog that I will be visiting as many of our services as possible, and this began with a great visit to our in-patient wards at Hellesdon. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting staff from the wards, and from the crisis team, and others who were able to pop in for a coffee and a chat. Thanks so much to Nicky Shaw, Zeyn Green-Thompson and Bethany Oughton for showing me round. I also met ward manager John Kasensa, his clinical leadership and work on inclusion is outstanding. I was so impressed. I will be at Woodlands on the Ipswich Hospital site today (Monday 20th Nov) and am really looking forward to meeting staff and service users there. You will hear how I get on very soon.  

You will have heard me say how important it is for us to work together with partners, and for the Trust to fully participate in the local ‘System’ as a whole (in both Norfolk and Suffolk). I am pleased to confirm that I have now been formally appointed to the Integrated Care Boards (ICB) for both Norfolk and Suffolk and attended a ‘time out’ session with System leaders where we focused on some key priorities we have as a system, particularly the urgent care pathway and more we need to do during winter. I had a very warm welcome and was very impressed with the collaborative working.

Finally, chairman Zoe Billingham and I met with several of our MPs last week in Westminster. I was incredibly impressed with their interest in and commitment to mental health. The meetings gave us a very welcome opportunity to set out our thoughts and plans for continual improvement going forward, and the close working needed with our MPs who of course, represent our communities. 

Until next time…  


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