Improving Together: Networking, sharing ideas and raising awareness | News and events

Improving Together: Networking, sharing ideas and raising awareness

Writing my blog today, it made me realise just how much is happening across our Trust. So much important work has taken place in the last two weeks, and I want to summarise some of this in my blog, linked to each of our four key priorities: improving health, improving care, improving culture and improving value.

This week, my blog broadly focuses on the importance of networking, sharing ideas and raising awareness of what we are doing, why we are doing these things and the impact we need to see as a result us working differently with our service users, families, carers and our partners across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Improving Health

I was really pleased with the discussion at our latest Board of Directors and Medical Staffing Committee meeting. It was great to hear from Jan Falkowski, our Medical Director for Workforce and the very positive feedback from the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans, East of England, about a real change in our culture. Many of our Junior Doctors have reported improvements on our focus on teamwork and quality of care. Our Medical Consultants are really creating a great working environment for training, and I would like to share my personal thanks to everyone involved in this important work.

On Thursday 9 May, our Trust presented our first learning from deaths report which we discussed at our Board of Directors meeting on 28 March 2024. The discussion was very positive and confirms that both Norfolk and Suffolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees are both assured by the progress we are making as a Trust in relation to our learning from deaths work. We will join both Norfolk and Suffolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s in six months’ time to share further progress on our large-scale improvement and transformation programmes.

Last week, I met with the Campaign to save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk. This was an important meeting where I listened to their experiences and heard their suggestions regarding improvements needed to services and culture. 

I am pleased members of the campaign agreed to meet with me and colleagues. Along with many other service users, families and carers I have met recently, it was particularly important to recognise their difficult experiences of shortcomings in care. Their vital feedback and involvement will continue to influence our improvement and transformation work as a Trust, and we agreed to meet them on a regular basis. 

Tomorrow, our Chair Zoë Billingham and I, alongside our Integrated Care Board Chairs and Chief Executives, are meeting Norfolk and Suffolk MPs and some members of the Campaign to save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, in London. We last met MPs collectively in March this year and the meeting tomorrow will provide a further opportunity for our MPs to hear more about recent progress we are making as a Trust across all of our strategic improvement and transformation programmes.

Improving Care

Last week, I was really pleased to confirm that the partnership focused bid we submitted to NHS Norfolk and Waveney to provide NHS Talking Therapies, known locally as our Wellbeing service has been selected to provide the continuation of local services. Our Trust and number of providers will work together to provide NHS Talking Therapies services in Norfolk and Waveney until at least 2029.

This is great news for our local Wellbeing services and testament to the work and support they are providing to our existing and new service users, families and carers. The additional partnership, involvement and work with other service providers will only strengthen and further improve what we do.

This week, phase one of our consultation to implement our Future Leadership Structure closes. I am pleased that staff in scope in phase one of the consultation have provided some really helpful thoughts and views so far. Phase one of our consultation for our triumvirate leaders; Locality Medical Director, Locality Director of Nursing and Quality and Locality Director of Operations for each of our five localities closes this week. We will then commence recruitment into these important roles.

At our Executive team meeting last week, we discussed an additional strategic improvement and transformation programme, which will be added to our large-scale change programmes. We had set out that service user, carer and family voice should be involved across all our major change programmes, however the more we have heard from people, we have decided it also needs its own dedicated programme.

We have done a great deal to hear the lived experience voice and employ many Peer Support Workers and People Participation Leads but we have more to do to ensure they are fully embedded and supported across the Trust. We also have more to do to make sure service user, carer and family voice is heard and acted upon and, at a strategic level, that the user and carer voice is visible and influential. For these reasons we have decided to establish a dedicated programme of its own, so we can truly maximise the focus on making sure that our service users, families and carers are embedded into everything we do as a Trust. The image below captures this additional programme which sits in our improving care priority.

Improving Culture

I mentioned in my last blog that our Pioneer Listening into Action (LiA) teams will launch today; please do watch out for this and support the teams whenever you can.

Listening into Action quick wins are being delivered thick and fast, included in this summary , but please keep them coming and if you think you can deliver a quick win, do let us know by getting in touch with our Listening into Action lead, Priscilla Nzounhenda. Simply email or complete our LiA Quick Win form, available on our all-staff intranet. In future blogs, we will spotlight a quick win in action and the difference this is making.

This week, there are two important events taking place we must all focus on and recognise as a Trust. Yesterday was International Nurses Day and I was really pleased to see some great case studies showcasing the knowledge, skills, leadership and expertise of a number of nurses across our Trust.

As part of our celebrations, Cath Byford, Deputy CEO and Chief People Officer, will join Interim Chief Nurse Anthony Deery, Lead Nurse Nicky Shaw and Ward Manager John Kasensa in an online discussion about mental health nursing. They will talk about their nursing careers, experiences and what inspires and motivates them to care for others in an MS Teams live event on Thursday 16 May, 16:15 to 17:00.

Staff, service users, families, carers, Trust members and members of the public are also invited to submit questions and attend.

This week is also Mental Health Awareness Week, a vital annual week of raising awareness with our service users, families, carers, local communities and staff about the importance of mental health and links with physical health. Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney is organising walks open to everyone aged 16-plus. The walks will be held throughout the week at different sites, including Norwich, Sheringham, Felbrigg, Lowestoft, Downham Market, Great Yarmouth and Wymondham. In Suffolk, regular Coffee Crawl organiser Deborah Atkinson, people participation co-ordinator for our Trust has organised a programme of activities, making sure we have some fun activities to help people to find moments of movement in their daily routines.

This year’s theme is “moving more for our mental health”. Take a look at our news release and please do like and share posts on social media.  

Improving Value

A common frustration I have heard from staff across our organisation is the number of statutory and mandatory training modules they have to undertake. Some of these modules are very similar and more recent modules introduced mean that two or more can be combined into one. As a result of streamlining and strengthening our core training across clinical and non-clinical modules, we have made great progress, reducing the number of modules that staff must take from 51 down to 19.

We now have a robust training package for all our staff across our Trust and, based on early modelling, this means that not only do our staff have up-to-date training modules to help improve outcomes and experiences for our service users, carers and families, it could release in excess of 35,000 hours per year of staff time. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all staff for their feedback and the huge amount of work that has gone into streamlining and strengthening our statutory and mandatory training.

Finally, at our Trust Management Board last week, we heard from Professor Oliver Shanley and Priscilla Nzounhenda. Professor Shanley led the Independent Review of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Priscilla set the scene for NSFT. This was particularly important to focus on how important it is we learn from the outcomes of this independent review to support improvements in both our culture and governance.

The presentation made everyone in the room think about what we can learn from the review equally and how the recommendations will help us on our journey to improve care, quality and safety, as well as becoming a more open and transparent organisation in everything we do.

Thank you once again for everything you continue to do – only by working together, with our service users, families, carers, and our partners, will we become a safer, kinder and better organisation.

Until next time,


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