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by Kathryn Thomson

Chief Executive

Well done to our "Midwife of the Year"

Well the end of January is fast approaching, time flies when you are having fun.  It has been another busy week at Liverpool Women's.

On Wednesday afternoon we held a workshop with our Council of Governors sharing with them our plans for the next few years.  We had some great ideas and challenges from our Governors which we will incorporate into our plans for the future. It is great to have such committed individuals interested in and passionate about what we do.  Wednesday evening was our formal Council of Governors meeting, we had an interesting  agenda, including an update on our Care Quality Commission visit from last July, an outline of our Nursing and Midwifery Strategy and an update on the process to appoint our new Chair. Three recently elected or appointed Governors were welcomed at Wednesday's meeting.  They are Sheila Phillips (public Governor, Knowsley), Geoffrey Tattersall (public Governor, rest of England & Wales) and Nina Killen (appointed governor, Sefton Council).

Also on Wednesday, one of our midwives won the 'Midwife of the Year Award for North of England' at the Royal College of Midwives' Annual Celebration Event. Joan was nominated by a family who were bowled over by the care and support Joan gave to them throughout a difficult pregnancy. Joan's story was also featured in the Liverpool Echo. Also nominated for an award was our Head of Midwifery, Cathy Atherton, who was up for Mentor of the Year. Both colleagues are a credit to this organisation and we congratulate them both for their achievements.

Ken Morris, our Chairman, and I met with colleagues from PWC who act as our External Auditors.  We had a useful and constructive debate about last year's Audit work and areas of focus for the Auditors for next year.

I also caught up this week with Vikram Jha, Professor of Undergraduate Medicine and Head of the Medical School at the University of Liverpool.  As well as his busy role with the University, Vikram is also an Obstetrician and works clinically at Liverpool Women's.

I had a quick visit from Dr Astrid Webber one of our Consultant Clinical Geneticists.  The work they do is fascinating. 

I also had a chat with Professor Charles Kingsland from our Hewitt Fertility Centre, we have some really exciting plans coming to fruition in the next few months.  I look forward to sharing them with you.

Our executive team meets every Thursday morning and this week was a particularly challenging meeting. We have some tough challenges ahead and we are having to think and act very differently to ensure that we stay on course to deliver our organisations priorities.  We always set out an ambitious plan to be delivered for the year but it is amazing how many additional challenges and at times opportunities are presented to us that have to be managed.  Our jobs are never boring!!!

Myself and other Executive Directors met with some of our Consultants to think strategically about the shape of maternity and Neonatal services for the future.  Thank you to Jo Topping and Devender  Roberts, two of our Obstetricians, and Bill Yoxall, Ben Shaw and Colin Morgan, three of our Neonatologists who helped shape our thinking.

Also on Thursday, we heard feedback from a group of staff from our Genetics Laboratories on how they had engaged in a transformation event to consider how the two labs, cytogenetics and molecular genetics, can work more closely together to improve services for patients and reduce waste and inefficiency.  Thank you for sharing your plans with our executive team.

We're sad to see Dr Leanne Bricker leaving Liverpool Women's to go and practice Fetal Medicine in Abu Dhabi for two years this week. You will have no doubt been touched by many of the stories that have featured on this very website which have highlighted the amazing skills that Leanne has. We thank Leanne for the contribution she has made to our Fetal Medicine Unit during her time here, and wish her all the best for her sabbatical. We look forward to welcoming Dr Bricker back and hearing all about her time in Abu Dhabi on her return to Liverpool Women's.

I regularly spend time in our clinical areas but this week spent sometime with our staff in our Booking and Access Centre.  These people are responsible for ensuring patients get timely access into the right clinics.  They are often the first contact that a patient has with our services and do an important job that is not always evident to everybody.  It was heart-warming to hear them talk about how on occasions they speak to really anxious patients and how they have personally gone along to a clinic to say hello to a patient, which puts a face to the voice at the end of a telephone line.  Examples of values and behaviours like this are what makes Liverpool Women's so special.  Thank you to all the staff who met with me and discussed the challenges and opportunities that they face.  I will be back to see you again in a few weeks and look forward to hearing what progress has been made.

I hope you have a great weekend.

24 January 2014