Chief Executive’s Blog
Chief Executive Tony Bell’s blog aims to offer a unique insight into the running of our hospital, and the issues that the Board and Tony face.
Tony took up post as Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on 3 September 2012.
The blog is a way to keep patients, members of the public, Foundation Trust members, staff and everyone else with an interest in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital regularly informed and to receive feedback from you all.
We hope it helps to let you know more about what is going on at Chelsea and Westminster and how we strive to provide the best possible care to patients. It is a way of communicating personally about the life and times of our hospital—when things go well and, just as importantly, when they don't.
We welcome feedback on the Chief Executive’s Blog—you can either post feedback online using the comment function at the end of each blog entry or, if you prefer not to comment publicly in this way, email Tony via Katie Drummond-Dunn (Communications Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One year on
This week marks a year since I started at Chelsea and Westminster and it’s rather frightening how quickly the time has flown!
Can anything be as important as getting someone’s end of life care right?
The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is once again in the news because an independent review, led by expects on behalf of the Department of Health, has decided that the pathway should be phased out over the next six to twelve months. While the experts acknowledge that the pathway did give some patients and loved ones as positive an experience as one can have at the end of life, in some cases it wasn’t used correctly which made this difficult period, at times, very tough for affected families and individuals.
Providing the best for patients in A&E
There have been many reports in the media over the past month showing growing concern about the rising number of patients attending hospital A&E departments and whether emergency care is coping with these increasing demands on staff and services.
A successful Open Day celebrates 20 years of Chelsea and Westminster
I wanted this fortnight’s blog to celebrate the wonderful success that was Open Day 2013. On Saturday (despite the poor weather) over 2,000 people came to the hospital to listen to music, visit information stands, enjoy activities in the children’s zone and have health MOTs. The Fulham Road was a sea of green that day with our dedicated helpers all wearing their open day t-shirts, which are fast becoming collector’s items!
A new NHS
April 1 2013 was a landmark day in the history of the NHS. Old organisations ceased to exist, with GPs now taking the helm for commissioning hospital services for the local communities they serve. Responsibility for public health now rests with local Councils.
Reflecting on Francis’ findings
The last couple of weeks have been very difficult ones for the NHS with the shocking revelations of the final report in the Mid Staffs public inquiry.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care
I often reference our dedicated staff in my blog posts but they really do underpin the work that we do and the service that we provide our patients. A hospital has to run like clockwork 24 hours a day—saving lives in A&E, delivering babies in maternity, changing lives in theatre and helping to rehabilitate people and maintain their quality of life in therapies. Every person working here makes a difference to people’s lives.
Being food smart
I was alarmed, as many of you were I am sure, to hear the news that horse meat was in some beefburgers sold by British retailers. Although we rely on manufacturers for the quality of food we buy, it has again stimulated debate on the content of the food we consume and our diet.
Planning ahead in our 20th anniversary year
January is usually the time when people make their resolutions and plan for the year ahead. Planning for the future is a continuous process at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. We have to constantly look at the care our patients require and the landscape of the NHS.
Christmas at Chelsea and Westminster
It was great to see so many local residents and staff at our first ‘Christmas at Chelsea and Westminster’ community event last Monday (17 December).
We have spent some valuable time this week in different gatherings working with our Board of Directors, our Council of Governors and our senior clinicians and managers.
Encouraging clinical innovation
Last week a diverse group of clinicians and managers from across the Trust came together for a workshop on clinical innovation.
An issue of trust
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for us in many ways and the Trust has found itself at the centre of media attention on the issues of End of Life Care and Private Patient Income.
End of life care
I am sure many of you will have read recent press reports about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) and suggestions that in some way this is a pathway that hastens death. Given my recent move from Liverpool and the fact that I have known and worked with Professor John Ellershaw and his colleagues who developed the pathway, it has caused me to reflect on things.
Quality and planning
Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, has stressed on a number of occasions that a “relentless focus on quality” must be the “organising principle” of the health service.
Thousands support ‘Safe in our hands’ campaign
I would like to thank all patients, local residents and staff who have joined the ‘Safe in our hands’ campaign to maintain Chelsea and Westminster’s status as a major hospital with a full A&E, Maternity Unit and children’s services during the Shaping a healthier future public consultation on changes to NHS services in North West London.
A warm welcome
I would like to thank all staff, Governors and patients for making me feel so welcome since I joined Chelsea and Westminster earlier this month. During my first two weeks as the hospital’s new Chief Executive I have joined the Chairman in welcoming a number of local politicians including MPs, Council leaders and councillors to the hospital.
Today is my first day as the new Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. My appointment was approved by the Council of Governors—which includes elected representatives of patients, members of the public and staff—in May and since then I have been serving out my notice period as Chief Executive of Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.
‘Safe in our hands’
My last two months as Acting Chief Executive have been an interesting, challenging and rewarding time for me. The ‘Safe in our hands’ campaign is really gathering steam and it has been gratifying to see staff and patients getting behind the hospital and supporting our campaign to keep A&E at Chelsea and Westminster during the Shaping a healthier future consultation about changes to NHS services in North West London.
Olympic effort, money matters and our A&E campaign
I would like to thank all staff who have helped to ensure that it has been ‘business as usual’ during the Olympics and maintained the usual quality of care that patients expect when they come to Chelsea and Westminster.
‘Safe in our hands’—Help us to keep A&E at Chelsea and Westminster
We must ensure that we make a compelling case for keeping a full A&E service here at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital following the launch of a public consultation on major changes to NHS services in North West London.
Support us to keep A&E at Chelsea and Westminster
I have taken over as the Acting Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster for the next two months following Heather Lawrence’s departure at the end of last week after 12 extremely successful years as Chief Executive.
A fond farewell
I will be leaving Chelsea and Westminster Hospital at the end of this week after 12 hugely enjoyable and rewarding years as Chief Executive and so this is my final blog entry.
It has been a pleasure for us to welcome two Health Ministers to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in recent weeks. Their interest in our services is a testament to the excellence of our staff who are leading the way in many different specialties.
Our stars, Open Day and wayfinding
It was an honour and a privilege to be at Chelsea Football Club last night for the first Chelsea and Westminster Star Awards evening when the winners of our new annual staff awards scheme were announced. This was a most successful evening, enjoyed by everyone who was there—more than 170 staff from throughout the hospital, many of whom were either shortlisted or were there to support colleagues who had been shortlisted.
Open Day, wayfinding and Directors’ Den
I’m looking forward to seeing you at our annual Open Day on Saturday 12 May from 11am—3pm. Each year I’m always pleased to see so many patients, Foundation Trust members and people from our local community join us to find out more about what we do at Chelsea and Westminster.
‘It’s who we are’—our values
I have discussed the importance of defining the Trust’s values in a number of my blog entries over the last few months. Development of our values was centred on the need for us to emphasise our patient-focused approach to everything that we do as an organisation and as individual members of staff.
NHS Staff Survey
I am delighted that the results of the NHS Staff Survey, published by the Department of Health on 20 March for every NHS trust in England, demonstrate further improvement in our communication between senior management and staff. This is a significant achievement at a time when we have been asking staff to not only improve the quality of care and overall experience for patients but also make annual cost savings of almost £20 million, often by working differently and adjusting to changes in their job roles and responsibilities.
Staying ‘Fit for the Future’
While politicians and the media continue to focus on the travails of the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, the focus for NHS chief executives like myself as we prepare to enter a new financial year on 1 April remains enhancing quality while at the same time reducing costs. Here at Chelsea and Westminster we launched our Fit for the Future programme in March 2010 to improve the quality of patient care and deliver significant efficiency savings.
Score 1 for the NHS
As politicians, trade unions and media commentators debate the future of the NHS and the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, a recent article in the Daily Mail comparing hospital care in the US and here at Chelsea and Westminster made fascinating reading. The article was headlined 'This woman had one emergency op at America's hospital to the stars and another on the NHS. So where did she get the best care?'
Patients tell us what they think about our outpatients
I was encouraged that in the national NHS outpatients survey published by the Care Quality Commission last week, 93% of Chelsea and Westminster patients who completed the survey said they would recommend our outpatient services to their friends and family. It was also heartening that 91% of our patients who took part in the survey had confidence in the doctors treating them and overall 89% of patients rated their care as 'Excellent', 'Very good' or 'Good'.
Help us by voting for our values
Three years ago, as the size and scale of the financial tsunami facing the NHS became clear, I took a paper to the Trust Board of Directors recommending a strategic approach to the challenge facing us by investing in our future while making significant savings. We set out a plan of work that included shared services work with our Fulham Road partners—the Royal Brompton and Royal Marsden hospitals—investing in our infrastructure to make us more fuel efficient and also developing an electronic document management system.
Junior Doctors, our values and our hospital school
When we decided to allow BBC TV cameras to spend four months in the hospital last year following a group of junior doctors in their first jobs, some people (both here at Chelsea and Westminster and elsewhere) described it as a brave decision. The first of six one-hour episodes of the resulting documentary series Junior Doctors: Your Life In Their Hands will be shown at 9pm on BBC3 tomorrow night (Tuesday 24 January) and so you can judge the fruits of the BBC team's labours for yourselves. I hope you enjoy it and agree with me that it is a fascinating and largely positive portrait of our hospital.
Changes for the new year
Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you are all looking forward to another busy and exciting year at Chelsea and Westminster. As I announced last week, I will be leaving the Trust this summer after 12 years as Chief Executive and I would like to thank you to everyone who has contacted me with messages of goodwill for the future.
Reflecting on the past year
As the year draws to a close, I would like to thank all staff for helping to make this another successful year at Chelsea and Westminster—despite the tough economic times we are living in. I do not underestimate the demands that we place on our staff in asking them to work with us to make significant efficiencies—9% of controllable spend during this financial year—while continuing to improve the quality of care that we provide to patients.
Looking ahead to next year
In my last blog entry I was proud to let you know about a fantastic achievement which was a real credit to all staff who work at Chelsea and Westminster when we were named as the best hospital in England for low mortality rates in the Dr Foster Hospital Guide. This was an important recognition of the quality and safety of the care that staff at Chelsea and Westminster provide for our patients but I am not complacent about our performance and I know that we must always look for ways to improve further.
Dr Foster success, being open and new partnerships
I am proud to be able to use my blog entry this week to let you know about a fantastic achievement which is a real credit to all staff who work at Chelsea and Westminster.
When things go wrong
What happens when things go wrong? How the NHS responds when it fails to meet the high standards that the public rightly expect has been under the microscope—both in the House of Lords and at the public inquiry into events at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
The changing face of healthcare
Chelsea and Westminster is a partner in the North West London Integrated Care Pilot (ICP) which is gaining many plaudits for its efforts to 'join up' (or integrate) the care of patients aged 75 and over and also patients living with diabetes. It has been shortlisted in two categories of this year's Health Service Journal Awards—the NHS Oscars—been featured on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and was described during BBC1's Question Time by GP and comedian Dr Phil Hammond as "wonderful".
What can the NHS learn from Steve Jobs?
What can the NHS learn from Steve Jobs? Much has been written about the influence of the Apple Chief Executive since his death. I take inspiration from his response when asked what made his company outstanding.
Fostering a culture of innovation
In the current economic climate, every public and private sector organisation faces the same challenge—how to do more for less. Here at Chelsea and Westminster, we must provide the excellent services that our patients rightly demand while making significant efficiency savings—our cost improvement programme for the current financial year is equivalent to 9% of our controllable costs.
Communicating with our patients
I was delighted to see so many patients, members of the public and staff at our Annual Members' Meeting last Thursday. The fact that our annual meeting is so well-attended shows just how important it is that we ensure our hospital's services meet the needs of those who rely on us and how interested people are in what we are doing here at Chelsea and Westminster.
Welcome to my new fortnightly Chief Executive's Blog which I hope will offer an interesting insight into the running of this Trust and the issues that the Board and I face. I look forward to using my blog as a way of keeping staff, patients, members of the public, GPs and others regularly informed and receiving feedback from you all.