Improving Together: Our commitment to improve through collaboration | News and events

Improving Together: Our commitment to improve through collaboration

I’d like to start my blog this week with a thank you to all colleagues who spent time away from family and friends over the Easter Weekend to provide support and care to service users and carers. I am truly grateful and hope everyone managed to get some downtime over the long weekend. 

There was a huge amount going on leading up to the Bank Holiday weekend which I am keen to share with you in today’s blog. So here goes… 

On Tuesday 19 March, I was joined by our Chair Zoë and our Integrated Care Board (ICB) partners as we met with Health Minister Maria Caulfield and local MPs to discuss our continuing improvement journey. This followed some of our local MPs meeting representatives from the mental health campaign the week before in Westminster. We were given the opportunity to talk about our challenges, particularly those resulting from the concerns raised about our approach to learning from deaths, and the need to further improve the quality of care we provide. We spoke about continuing with our improvement plans, which at the heart of is the priority to collaborate with our partners, our service users, carers and bereaved relatives and of course our staff. Whilst there was an appreciation of the progress we are making, there was a wide agreement that there is very much still to do and a real understanding of the issues the campaign group had set out. We plan to continue meeting to rightly be held to account on our improvement plans. 

Last Thursday, we held our Board meeting in public. For the first time, we were able to discuss our learning from deaths report using our new database. Working with some service users and carers, and bereaved families, our Trust, supported by our ICB partners and NHS England, has developed a new way of reporting on the number of deaths for people who were receiving care from the Trust, or died within six months of discharge from our services. This report is a huge step forward for NSFT, and we shared it with you ahead of publication. It sets out the very sad number of deaths from 1 November 2023 to 31 January 2024 in Norfolk and Suffolk, and most importantly, how we use this information to learn and improve our care. 

The collection, analysis and reporting of mortality data continues to be led by our Board level Governance and Safety Advisor, Gary O’Hare. Gary is working with our mortality team and wider organisation to make sure we embed this vital new way of working, which is crucial to our transformation and improvement work. 

Looking ahead, we will publish this data bi-monthly at every Board meeting - this exceeds the standard reporting periods in the NHS. 

l will personally continue to prioritise meeting with bereaved families and our local MPs to answer their questions and to make sure they are fully sighted on our progress with this essential work. 

I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the inquests that have taken place across Norfolk and Suffolk recently. These are very difficult for bereaved families to experience; not only the tragic loss of their loved one, but also the process of experiencing an inquest. Their grief, I am sure is exacerbated when there is evidence that more could have been done to support their loved one. As a Board and leadership team, we have learning and improving right at the heart of our improvement plan, enabling the improvement of our services and clinical pathways with our partners. Our newly appointed Director of Patient Safety and Safeguarding will oversee and lead how we learn from inquests. 

Also last week, I was pleased to Chair our new Trust-wide Senior Leadership Team meeting. Held in Ipswich and in person, this provided a vital opportunity for our most senior leaders to come together and explore what it is like to be a leader in the Trust and how we want our collective leadership to be received. We have a lot to do to improve our culture and our leaders are absolutely essential in creating and supporting the climate and values-based culture we want to see in the future. We also discussed our priorities and the need to have a shared focus on our four strategic objectives of improving health, improving care, improving culture and improving value. We all need to work together to deliver in these key areas across our eleven major areas of work. 

Key to our improvement journey is enabling our staff, service users, carers, families and our partners to clearly understand what we are aiming to achieve. We have spent time developing a vision that sets out where we want to be in five years time. Our new vision is ‘Improving together to provide Safer, Kinder and Better services’. This underpins our commitment to make sure people can access our services in a timely way and receive safer care which is always kind and compassionate.

Ultimately, working together with our partners, we become better and build confidence with our communities we are here to serve. 

Clinical pathways and clinical services being commissioned and provided in a comprehensive and joined up way is an essential element of this. I am delighted we have appointed Dr Sarah Cornick as our acting Chief Transformation Officer. Sarah is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist who joined NSFT last summer from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. We are currently in the recruitment phase to appoint to the Chief Transformation Officer on a substantive basis. 

As I have mentioned, improving culture is one of our top priorities. I was dismayed recently to see news recently dominated by reports of racist, misogynistic and violent comments made about a female, Black MP. 

As a Trust we have made a commitment to become an anti-racist organisation and with that comes the responsibility of calling out unacceptable behaviours as and when we see them. I want to be clear that we wholeheartedly condemn these comments. In Women’s History month, and with our ongoing focus on anti-racism, I want to remind everyone of our strong and unwavering commitment to being an inclusive organisation for all our colleagues. This means that any form of hate or discrimination will not be tolerated. This also means we call out discrimination when we see it. I want to take this opportunity express our support for all our black and female colleagues. 

I know we have more work to do to get to a position where all staff have a sense of belonging and inclusion. I am committed to seeing significant improvements in our people’s experiences and am planning to establish and chair a new Inclusion Council enabling us to really galvanise our commitment and action to inclusion, with our first priority being tacking racism. I will let you know more information as these plans evolve. 

Please do remember that support is available if you need it by visiting our Supporting You pages on the intranet and you can learn more about being anti-racist via our Anti-Racism: Empathy and Equity learning programme. 

Finally, I would like to recognise and congratulate teams and colleagues across our organisation who are excelling. An innovative one-stop shop for people following a first fall, involving NSFT, is seeing its success recognised. It recently received the Living all the Values Award from the Ipswich and East Suffolk Alliance, presented by the High Sheriff at Endeavour House, Ipswich. The project was also recently awarded a Silver HSJ Award. 

Another partnership project, this time with the Norfolk and Waveney ICB, has also been shortlisted for a 2024 HSJ Digital Award. The Better Sleep Programme, led by Dr Rebecca Rollinson is all about sleep difficulties affecting mental health in young people.

It’s also great to see our Supporting Holistic and Integrated Assessment for Forced Migrants (SHIFA) clinic - the first mental health assessment clinic for forced migrants in Norwich – recognised. This has been awarded the Norwich City of Sanctuary Award, recognising its culture of welcoming and inclusion to our patients.

A huge well done also for perinatal nurse specialist Helen Jackson who has been honoured for her work on antenatal care in Suffolk. Helen won the Hughes Award in the first University of Suffolk Purple Hearts Trauma Informed Practice Awards for a project with West Suffolk Hospital colleagues to embed trauma informed practice across the antenatal care pathway. 

My thanks and congratulations also go to the latest winners of our internal monthly Star awards – ICT Desktop Support Technician Rob Sims and Community Senior Mental Health Hannah Dyozinski. Both were nominated by colleagues for outstanding efforts in their respective areas of work. It is a pleasure to be able to recognise them here. 

A massive well done and thank-you to all these stars who are demonstrating excellence despite often challenging contexts, working in partnership and truly innovating! 

Until next time, 


Page Feedback

Page Feedback

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. You can at any time read our cookie policy. Otherwise, we will assume that you are OK to continue.

Please choose a setting: