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Making the headlines

Weeks fly by. Monday, first thing was spent with a briefing on a critical clinical incident that occurred the previous week. At Liverpool Women's we know we get it right the vast majority of times for our patients but it is also right and important that we put our hands up and accept responsibility when we make mistakes. An investigation into what happened commenced on Monday. Promoting a culture of openness and honesty is critical to embedding a culture of learning that keeps patients safe. 

Monday morning I met with Umber Agarwal Consultant obstetrician. Umber is one of our newer consultants appointed in recent years. It is great to hear the enthusiasm from our younger consultants about their ambitions for keeping Liverpool Women's at the forefront of innovation in women's services. Umber was telling me how proud he is to work here when most weeks we make headlines, usually for positive issues.

What a great week we have had for making headlines. First baby Keira, the first baby born through the new Eeva technology in the world was reported on local news programmes, BBC North West Tonight and Granada Reports as well as making front page news and a two page spread in the Liverpool Echo, as well as national and international papers. A big thank you to the Liverpool Echo who always recognise the dedication and innovation of our staff.  I am so very proud of our staff in Hewitt Fertility; you do an amazing job, making dreams come true.

It has also been lovely to read Jane Aspinall’s story in the Echo, Jane beat cervical cancer after having an operation called Radical Trachelectomy performed here at Liverpool Women’s by Jonathon Herod in 2009. This operation allowed Jane to have hope that she could still one day have a baby. On 16th May Jane gave birth at the hospital to her little boy, baby Daniel. If you would like to read more on Jane’s story click here.

Monday afternoon I was at Aintree Hospital spending time at the Aintree Centre for Women's Health .Once again I was greeted enthusiastically by our lovely staff there. You are a great team. I spent the afternoon with Linda Watkins, Consultant Obstetrician. Linda has been a consultant for four years and is already proving to be a real clinical leader in the making. Our midwives always speak highly of Linda's positive clinical leadership on delivery suite, in the community and in theatre. A true star in the making. Well done to Davy Liver the  taxi firm that we contract with. The taxi driver on my return back from Aintree was a credit to you. A lovely man.

Thursday was another busy day. My morning started at 6.30 with the other man in my life, Ryan my personal trainer. Some days I really believe he is trying to kill me!  This was followed by our weekly executive team meeting and a visit to the newest refurbished part of our maternity services. A great facility for staff handover of care with great technology clearly detailing the women in each room, with their progress in labour. There is a huge computer screen that picks up and transmits from the rooms the CCG monitoring of babies. A true sign of technology and innovation driving the way healthcare is delivered. Thank you to Cathy Atherton, Head of Midwifery for showing us around.  We also had an opportunity to talk to Sarah, Shift Leader, Devender Roberts and Mark Clement Jones, Consultant Obstetricians and Simon Mehigan Consultant Midwife.

Midday was spent doing one of my regular Infection Control walkabouts. We initially focused on our gynaecology ward. Really love having an opportunity to not only look at the cleanliness of our clinical areas but a great opportunity to engage with our staff and our patients. It really shows the value of true team work when the nursing staff described to me their anxiety that their very valued domestic had moved on to ventures new. This really demonstrates the value that every member of the team brings to the ward environment.

Gail Naylor, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Operations and I spoke to a number of patients and relatives. One raised some minor issues with us of conflicting nursing advice. Thank you for this we will ensure it is constructively fed back to our staff. Other comments we received were:- it is comparable to being in a 4 star hotel, food is freshly served, plenty of it and nicely presented, cleanliness is outstanding and staff are amazing and very caring.  Another reason why I love my job and am so proud of our staff.

We also visited our antenatal clinics. Great to speak to our Midwives there, one of whom was waiting to be interviewed by Real Radio to highlight the barriers encountered by Carers. Also encountered our lovely Dr Chris Dewhirst, Consultant Neonatologist and Safeguarding Lead. Another real clinical leader in the making.

However amongst all of the positive encounters there are still too many staff not complying with our Dress Code Policy in Clinical Areas. A number of staff had this addressed with them today. When I enter clinical areas I observe the rules that I expect every other member of staff to observe. They are there to protect patients, primarily from infection. Non-compliance is not professionally acceptable.

I also spent time on Thursday with Nim Subhader, another of our fabulous Consultant Neonatologists. Nim has led a significant piece of work to significantly reduce neonatal infection rates. This is so important to the outcomes of our very vulnerable babies. Thank you Nim and good luck in the National Patient Safety Awards that you and the team have been short listed for.

In true terms of multitasking partway through my day I had an unexpected visit from my daughter Beth who has just finished her first year at University. She was accompanied by her friends Alice and Hannah. Oh the joys of a working mum!!!

Thursday afternoon was spent in our Genetic Laboratories. I never cease to be amazed by the technology and the staff we have at Liverpool Women's Hospital.  Thank you Anna Topping for taking myself and Michelle Turner, Director of HR through two real case studies demonstrating the importance of our investment in micro array technology absolutely mind blowing stuff.  I also spent time with Roger Mountford Head of Molecular Genetics Laboratory who was describing to me the importance of our investment in Next Generation Sequencing.  Roger as always it was a pleasure to meet with you.  Your passion and enthusiasm shines through.

As I write this it is only Thursday evening.  I haven't even talked about what I did on Tuesday and Wednesday and there is still Friday to go.

Friday is another of our Board Development sessions including a celebration of some of our staff’s achievements. We will say thank you and congratulations to members of our Infection Prevention and Control Team, Tim Neal, Brenda Webster and Kerri Boyd in respect of outstanding work around preventing infection across the Trust, particularly zero incidence of MRSA bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection. Bernard Flanagan and Linda Martin from our Estates Team in respect of the recent refurbishment of our front of house, main reception area. Cathy O’Keeffe From IT for outstanding work over the last few months. Alan Clark, Governance Quality Manager for his work in coordinating and preparing the Trust’s Quality Report.

Have a great weekend

by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

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