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by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

I've had my flu jab!

On Friday evening I was delighted to attend a dinner at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in honour of Dr David Richmond, Consultant Urogynaecologist at Liverpool Women's who has now taken up the Presidents role at the College. This is a fantastic opportunity for David personally and for Liverpool Women's; to have one of our Consultants leading internationally at the highest level of the profession is fantastic.

Earlier this week colleagues from Halton Clinical Commissioning Group visited us.  We focussed primarily on our Maternity Services and Reproductive Medicine. We had an interesting tour of our new maternity facilities and discussed the need for commissioners to strategically explore maternity services across Cheshire and Merseyside to ensure safe and sustainable services into the future in an ever increasingly challenging financial climate.  Colleagues in our Hewitt Fertility Centre then took us through a presentation on the new innovations that we have introduced which have helped us achieve success rates of almost 60%.  Our visitors were then given a tour of our state of the art IVF laboratories, where life is created right in front of your eyes.  Thank you to all our staff in both services who went out of their way to make our visitors time with us interesting and informative.

I never tire of spending time in our services.  It is a privilege as the CEO to be able to venture into any part of the Trust to witness at first hand the amazing things that we do here each and every day.

One of our priorities here at the Women's is to ensure our people put themselves forward to ensure we are at the forefront of developing the NHS workforce of the future.  Most recently, Dr Colin Morgan, one of our Consultant Neonatologists, has been appointed Head of the School of Paediatrics for Mersey Deanery.  Well done Colin! 

On Thursday morning we had a very challenging Executive Team meeting.  There are a number of areas in our performance that we really need to focus on and see improvement quickly, not least of which is cancelled operations for non-clinical reasons. We have seen an increase in these cancellations over recent months.  This is completely unacceptable for our patients, most of whom will be anxious about surgery.  To then have it cancelled on the day is unacceptable. We all agree that it is a priority to address this.

The first Friday of the month is our Board of Directors meeting. We always start our Board meeting with a patient story we balance these between when patients have told us we got it right for them and when we could have done better. I was really pleased that Steve and Vicki Greenall attended the meeting this morning to talk to us about their experience of using our services. Their daughter was transferred to Liverpool Women's after being born in a poor condition at another hospital. Unfortunately despite our staffs' best effort, their baby girl Mia Rose lost her fight for life on our neonatal unit.  Her very brave mummy and daddy have channelled their grief into fundraising for our hospital and we are really grateful for their efforts. It is always very sobering listening to these very real stories.  Today really made me reflect on some of the problems and challenges I have in my own life, they pale into insignificance when faced with the reality of grieving for your child.

In addition to a number of statutory reports the Board also received a report on our Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE).  Assessments are made of a range of non-clinical services which contribute to the environment in which healthcare is delivered.  The results were published nationally on 18th September 2013. 

                                            Liverpool Women's             National Average

Cleanliness                                  98.71%                               95.74%
Food                                           87.05%                               84.98%
Privacy and Dignity                       96.03%                               88.87%
Condition and Appearance            90.67%                                88.75%

Whilst we compare well against the national average; average is not good enough for our patients, and so our focus will be to improve these scores further.

We also took the opportunity to say thank you to the following members of staff Jeanette Jones (Reception Supervisor, Booking & Scheduling) and Sue Dowd (Capacity & Planning Manager) who regularly go the 'extra mile' for our patients to ensure we avoid any unnecessary cancellations and breaches, Ruth Stubbs (Matron), Katie Dabner (Gynaecology Outpatient Manager) and Lesley Harris (Gynaecology Outpatients) for their fabulous work in setting up our ambulatory gynaecology service, Sue Saunders, Infant Feeding Advisor for her work in respect of promoting breastfeeding, Sandra Dramond, Midwife for the care she provided back in June 2013 to a woman who was having a very difficult delivery (shoulder dystocia), Cathy Atherton (Head of Midwifery), Simon Mehigan (Consultant Midwife), Jenny Butters (Matron - Community) and Gillian Walker (Matron) for their tremendous work in our maternity services during a particularly challenging period of time.

A summary of our Board meetings is available through our website.

We at the Liverpool Women's are signed up to NHS Merseyside Flu Campaign and today members of the Board protected ourselves from the flu this winter by getting the Flu vaccination. We realise the importance of having the Flu vaccination and our staff are supporting this by having the flu jab. We are more than aware that there is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. It has been available every year to all our NHS staff to protect us from the risk of flu and its complications. This year we want to go further than ever. Public Health England has set us a target that 75% of our staff should have the flu vaccination between the 30th September and the 29th November in order to adequately protect us from Flu over the winter months. 

We have held a 3 day Pathology Improvement event this week, which brought together a multidisciplinary team of people. I attended the feedback session and was inspired by the engagement, motivation and enthusiasm that everyone displayed. I look forward to seeing improvements in our pathology services over the coming months. Well done.

Have a good weekend!

04 October 2013