Improving Together: Strengthening our leadership to drive improvement and transformation - CEO Caroline Donovan's blog - 29 April 2024 | News and events

Improving Together: Strengthening our leadership to drive improvement and transformation - CEO Caroline Donovan's blog - 29 April 2024

This week in my blog, I’d like to focus on a number of important initiatives, developments and announcements we have made over the last couple of weeks, all which link to our strategic improvement and transformation programmes and our four priorities as a Trust: improving health, improving care, improving culture and improving value.

Our improvement and transformation plans can only be achieved if our workforce and leadership are valued and listened to and motivated to do their very best, displaying the values and behaviours that we all aspire to and that all our colleagues feel valued and listened to.

I heard many stories in the seven Listening into Action (LiA) conversations we had recently about how we aren’t valuing our staff as much as we need to, we aren’t ensuring that service users carers and families are absolutely at the heart of all that we do, and we aren’t always responding and improving when our staff raise issues. 

We have listened carefully and now launching our new pioneer teams to really help to change our culture across our Trust. I am absolutely delighted that so many people have volunteered to be part of the listening into action pioneer teams which we will be launching on Monday 13 May 2024. 

We have many quick wins that are being delivered thick and fast, included in this summary , but please please keep them coming and if you think you can deliver a quick win, please do let us know and get 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.

I am really delighted that last week we announced Dr Faisal Sethi will join our Trust in September 2024 as our new, substantive Chief Medical Officer. 

Faisal will join us at an incredibly important time, bringing significant senior and board level medical leadership to our Trust, leading and supporting many of our strategic improvement and transformation programmes. As part of our plans to further strengthen our executive leadership team, Faisal will also take up the additional responsibility of joint Deputy Chief Executive, working closely with Cath Byford, our Chief People Officer and Deputy Chief Executive.

Faisal is currently Chief Medical Officer at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, which provides both mental health services and many physical and community-based health and care services. He is a multi-professional clinical leader, with a wide portfolio of experience in leadership roles over the past 10 years, including executive leadership, system leadership and operations. 

Dr Sarah Maxwell and Dr Sohail Abrar who are both doing an excellent job will continue to fulfil the CMO role until September when Faisal joins us.

I am also pleased to welcome David White who joined our Board last week as a non-executive director. David, who lives in Norfolk, is well known in our local healthcare system, having previously been CEO of Norfolk County Council and held Chair roles at The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust. 

Across these roles, David has delivered focus and results on change management and transformation. Appointing somebody of David’s experience further strengthens our Trust’s leadership and I am confident NSFT and the people we serve will benefit from his professional knowledge and skills as we improve together to provide safer, kinder, better services.

I also want to mention a few other important points in my blog today. Last week, we celebrated Administrative Professionals Day as a Trust. I really hope many of you saw the excellent case studies that had been pulled together that showed how important our administration and back-office staff are across our Trust. Our administrative staff work very closely with our clinical staff across our Trust, and it goes without saying that they all play a vital role in the delivery of front-line care. Our clinical staff would not be able to do the jobs they do without the support and contributions from our administrative staff – so thank you. One of our listening into action pioneer teams will focus on development pathways for administration staff, so please do reach out if you’d like to get involved.

I also want to congratulate Dr Nada Zahreddine, a Specialty and Associate Specialist Grade Consultant (SASG) who has recently completed her Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR). 

Dr Zahreddine is now part of the national specialist register and able to apply for consultant roles. This really is a significant milestone and it’s particularly good to see the support an encouragement that our Trust has given to Dr Zahreddine, with the hope she may choose to apply stay with us as a consultant.

Dr Zahreddine said to our joint Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sarah Maxwell last week that our Trust has been hugely supportive of her application from the very first day and she wouldn’t have achieved this important milestone in a three-year timeframe if hadn’t been for the training and support she has and continues to receive. Dr Zahreddine passed first time which is a brilliant outcome.

I was delighted to meet with our Trust medical leadership team and Dr Bill Irish, Postgraduate Dean and Dr Helen Johnson, Deputy Postgraduate Dean last week from the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans, East of England. From a workforce perspective, we are making good progress with our training environment and the quality of support we are providing and currently have over 100 trainees with us as a Trust. It is fantastic that we had very high feedback scores from our trainees for:

  • Teamworking – NSFT  92% vs 76% national average
  • Teaching and Learning – NSFT 82% vs 67% national average
  • Quality of Care – NSFT 84% vs 73% national average

This is something we should be really proud of and a massive thank-you to our Consultant Psychology workforce and wider clinical teams for this achievement. If junior doctors have a good experience with us they are much more likely to stay and become our consultant psychiatrists of the future. 

On Thursday last week, I went to the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System Board development day. It was a great meeting and allowed us all as senior leaders to explore the improvements we are making as a health and care system. I heard about a particularly impressive programme in Lowestoft aimed at tackling deprivation. As we move into our new locality structures. we will be able to play a significant role in reducing health inequalities alongside our partners. 

I also met with a relative last week who had lost her beloved brother last year. This was the second time myself and colleagues met her, and it was difficult listening to the shortcomings in care delivery. I was really pleased that she agreed to help us on our improvement journey. Her support to us as a Trust and personal feedback is vitally important and will directly influence our improvement and transformation work to help us become a safer, kinder and better organisation.

Finally, I wanted to end with a personal thanks to Priscilla Nzounhenda, our Listening into Action Lead and co-chair of BME network who attended an event at the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form Centre in Norwich., commemorating the 31st Anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s legacy. 

The event focussed on the theme of ‘The Power of Learning, Empowering Minds and Shaping Futures.’ This is a really powerful message which encapsulated young people who attended the event to consider the potential impact they could make in working for health and care. 

Priscilla spoke with young people about the opportunities available at our Trust and how they can make a real difference to the lives of people across Norfolk and Suffolk. I encourage everyone to think about how they can support and promote our Trust at events like this.

Thank you for everything you all continue to do to help make NSFT become a safer, kinder and better organisation.

Until next time, 


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