Chief Executive's Blog


Chief Executive's Blog

Jackie Daniel discussing services with midwife WGH web.jpgI am delighted to welcome you to my blog. I want this to be a two way communication process so I welcome any thoughts and feedback that you may have.

This is a great opportunity for me to be sharing news and details of what I have been doing across the Trust with you all and I do hope you enjoy reading them.

I send a "Friday Message" to all of our staff, governors and volunteers each week and I will also make these available, here on my blog.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 24 April

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Posted by corinnekemp


Many staff across our hospitals have been really engaged over the last year with encouraging patients to provide us with feedback about our services.  One of the ways we do this is through the ‘I want great care’ (IWGC) service (

Many of you might remember that I started talking about the introduction of IWGC over a year ago, and featured it as part of our Plan on a Page ( – being explicit for you all about what we were going to do.

We’ve made a number of changes as a result of the feedback from our patients.  All of them are important. No matter how small a change, when based on feedback it is really powerful.  I always wonder how many times as ward staff over the decades we’ve not ‘heard’ the issues, particularly the small ones – such as a patient having their sleep disturbed because there is nothing soft at the bottom of a waste bin to stop the bang when dropping something in.  I am aware of many changes that have taken place, such as the changes in our Children and Young People’s Services and how they’ve engaged with their patients and made improvements to the environment and the information they provide as a result.  I am very interested to hear about changes in your areas based on patient feedback, I am sure it happens every week somewhere in our hospitals, please do drop me a line and let me know.

We currently receive over 3,000 responses a month to our IWGC surveys – do you know what your patients are saying about your services?  If you don’t, please ensure you ask your line manager or Clinical Director for the details – without it, you don’t have the full picture of what people are saying about you and your services.

As a result of how the Trust has embraced this approach, I have been asked to join other leaders from across the NHS to speak at the national IWGC symposium on Friday, May 8. 

The themes that we will be running through the day are: 

  • How listening to patients and acting on what they say drives quality and safety
  • Building a culture of excellence across the organisation
  • The link between patient experience and staff morale
  • Real-time actionable data as a "smoke-detector” for safety

I am well aware of the issues and challenges that we face, and the many areas that we still need to improve. But, as I walk around our hospitals at the moment, I am struck by the amount of positivity in the air – you can almost touch it at times. 

People are regularly coming up to me, tweeting and writing to me to tell me about the good things that are going on in their areas. I also receive contact from staff telling me about what’s not working – which is great, I do want to hear it all.

Speaking at these events is a way for me to share your stories of improvement, as well as the challenges.  It affects how we are seen by others and I believe, impacts on our recruitment efforts.

I’ve invited the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Rob Webster (Twitter: @NHSConfed_RobW) to come and visit the Trust on Friday 1 May.  I want as many people as possible to come and meet our staff and bust the myths about this organisation.  I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Rob to an afternoon in our hospitals.

My other ask of you all this week is simple: I want you to shout about all the good things going on in our hospitals.  I’m not asking people to gloss over our issues, why would we, but if we don’t help ourselves who will?

We put out a lot of good messages and stories into the media each week, most of them are picked up and covered either online or in print. We also put them on our website, social media and our news site, Freshthinking ( If you visit Freshthinking you can subscribe and be kept up to date with a weekly summary email of articles.

If you visit Freshthinking today, the recent articles are:

  • Our Infection Prevention Matron, Angela promoting her public talks on Infection Prevention
  • Our catering teams being featured in a national NHS patient care toolkit
  • And the success of our catering teams last week and the praise for the Trust from the Hospital Caters Association

The catering team are good example – they’ve ‘grabbed’ our comms team and embraced all of the communication opportunities available over the last year. Following this, they have been featured on TV, radio and in print, and as you have read above, in a national NHS booklet.  But it takes a lot of hard work, I take my hat off to them, they have done a lot to help improve the reputation of the Trust – well done to everyone involved.

How can you shout about all the good things that are going on?

  • Simple, email me and tell me about the good things going on. I will include them in the blogs and messages I write and also add them to social media.
  • Tweet! I know not everyone is into social media, but depending on the source, there are around 15 million active twitter users in the UK.  If you don’t know how, give Corinne our social media guru a call in the communications team (46105) and she will be able to talk you through it.
  • Contact the communications team and ask them to help you share your story wider, be that in writing, a short video, press release etc – they are doing this every day, please make use of them.

There are many websites that feature all the great things in the NHS that take place, have you seen The Academy of NHS Fabulous Stuff? ( – take a look, the Millom project is on there now and receiving votes, as are our catering team.  Would you like a site like this? If you would, tell me and we will arrange it – a home for all our fabulous stuff.

I am going to finish this week with embarrassing a whole group of people, this is a snap shot of those people (from a very quick search) who work for the Trust and sometimes tweet/re-tweet about all the good things you are all doing.  Thank you to them all.  I know there will be many, many more of you so apologies for missing you! Tweet me and let me know you who you are and I will add you to my UHMBT tweeters list.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 17 April 2015

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Posted by corinnekemp



I wanted to let you know that I received an update from the CQC this week regarding our forthcoming CQC re-inspection.

Our inspection will now take place on 14, 15 and 16 July 2015. The change in date is to enable the CQC to include a review of the Trust’s progress with addressing the recommendations within the Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation.

As last time, the CQC will be inspecting services at FGH, RLI and WGH.

Following our inspection in February last year, a lot of work has been undertaken by everyone across the Trust to address the concerns raised by the CQC. I’ve been clear in my weekly message and when I’ve met with staff – I can see that progress has and continues to be made.  But, we all know that there is still more we need to do.  The findings from the mock inspection which I shared with you all last week confirm that.

The change in date is not an opportunity for us to take our foot off the gas.  We are continuing to see improvements in outcomes for patients and we must use this extra time to do even more. Of course, all the good work and momentum doesn’t stop after the CQC come in, and our Quality Improvement Plan ( clearly sets out the standards we are aiming for and how we are going to get there.

As we did before our last inspection, we are arranging for a series of briefing sessions to take place at our three main sites and once advertised, we would encourage as many staff as possible, from all disciplines to attend.  Several hundred staff came along last time, with wards and departments operating a rota system to maximise attendance, this was much appreciated and I am sure managers will be looking to accommodate colleagues again.


It is now over a month since Dr Kirkup published the findings of the Morecambe Bay Investigation.  There are 44 recommendations within the report, 18 of which are for the Trust to address.

Since the report was published, a number of actions have taken place in respect of the recommendations directed at the Trust.

Firstly, a sub-committee of the Trust Board has been established.  This committee will meet monthly, with the first meeting being today.  It is being chaired by a non-executive director, Professor Anne Garden and includes representatives from the Trust, Council of Governors, Clinical Commissioning Groups and an external expert.  We have also agreed that the committee will include representation from the public.

A working group has also been set-up, led by our Medical Director, Dr David Walker. This working group has a number of ‘work streams’, each led by an executive director with the responsibility of delivering the recommendations.

The process is such that the working group will report to the sub-committee, who in turn will report each month, in public, to the Trust Board.

We will be keeping staff, governors, stakeholders and the public appraised in a number of ways, not least through a monthly progress report which will also be placed on our website.


The Medical Staffing Committee (MSC) kindly invited the executive directors and Chair to a joint meeting in January and I am very pleased to share that David Walker, and Paul Marshall the Chair of the MSC have agreed another meeting for the afternoon of Thursday, 25 June 2015.  The venue will be in Grange over Sands this time.

A separate invite and agenda will be sent out shortly from both Paul and David, however I wanted to share the date as early as possible with medical colleagues for diaries.

I felt the last meeting was really positive and progress was made with developing a better understanding of the issues we face together.  I am looking forward to the next meeting – we had around 100 colleagues join us last time and we had a very honest and healthy debate.


I’ve spoken quite a lot lately about this and how we must do more to proactively encourage and support staff to raise concerns. 

We are now advertising for our first “Freedom to Speak Up Guardian”.  If you are a clinician and interested in taking on a new challenge and passionate about the safety and experience of everyone who uses and works in our hospitals then maybe this is for you?

Following the release of Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Review, we are keen to develop the Trust as a best practice model for openly raising and dealing with patient safety (and other) concerns. By championing respectful and valued behaviour, by challenging wrongdoing, and by supporting people who raise concerns, the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian will play a pivotal role in shaping a patient-centred, safety-focused culture.

If you are interested in the role and would like more information, please contact David Walker, Medical Director, on ext 46666 to arrange an informal discussion.

The appointment process will take place in early May. A Job Description and Person Specification will be available on the intranet shortly and we will place a link in Weekly News.

Application will be through a covering letter and CV, setting out the reasons why you consider yourself to be suitable for the role, please read the Job Description/ Person Specification before applying. This should be submitted to the Staff Engagement inbox by 5.00pm on Friday 1st May.


A number of people have approached me this week to let me know how hard staff are working, particularly in our A&E departments. It is nice to hear and thank you to each and every one of you, not just in A&E, but in all parts of our hospitals.

As a lot of you will know I am more of a “tweeter” when it comes to social media than a Facebook user – however we posted a link this week on Facebook of a positive comment from a patient who had visited our A&E in Lancaster – the response has been excellent.  The numbers keep changing, but currently this one message has reached over 15,000 people online, 290+ have ‘liked, commented or shared’ the post, and over 2,500 have actually clicked to find out more. There are now so many ways for us to share our success that it is easy to miss sometimes and I wanted to share this with you.

We don’t always get it right, we know that and we must use all feedback to learn and improve. At the end of this week’s message, I’ve pasted in the current comments on NHS Choices for April regarding the RLI.  Incredible feedback and you should all feel proud of the difference you have made to these patients and their families – I’m being a little selective I know with the comments below, however please take a look for yourselves, it is a similar picture for our other hospitals.

Keep up the good work and thank you.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive



Visit to A&E

I visited the A&E department on the 9th of April following an argument with an angle grinder. I was very pleased with the layout of the waiting area and the side area for minor injuries. I was lucky to arrive at a quiet time and was seen within 30 minutes. The nurse's and student who attended to me were fantastic. Polite, patient, clear and gentle. The radiographer was just as professional. It was the best experience of visiting an A&E department I have ever had.


since october 2014 I have had to visit a&e about 5 times with my son with badly sprained ankle and wrist. He has autistic spectrum disorder and is awaiting a referral appointment with paediatrics as he is having a lot of pain with his joints and swelling. He has fallen without any reason many times and ended up going to a&e and the staff have been so understanding and patient with my son. They have also eased his mind about the pain when he's been upset as his pain barrier isn't the same as maybe you and I.
Just recently at Easter weekend my daughter fell and badly bruised her elbow and the nurse that dealt with her after she had X-ray actually should of gone home half hour before but stayed back to help as they were short staffed that night. Very dedicated to their job and what a lovely person.
Keep up the good work guys and gals.

Fantastic staff and care!

I have twice had to unfortunately visit the RLI A&E due to an arythmia and I cannot praise all the staff involved highly enough from the speed at which I was seen to the care of all involved wether it was just popping their head around the curtain to ask if I felt okayborvifvthere was anything that would make me more comfortable. Absolutely first class.

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Friday Message - 27 March

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Posted by corinnekemp

I’ve been talking a lot lately about the importance of good leadership and the role of leaders at every level of the organisation. And this week has provided me with first hand examples of staff stepping up to the plate and taking on the task of leading.

At the Trust Board meeting this week, Claire Rawes – Ward Manager, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), came along to talk to us all and share the work she has been involved with to improve the experience for her patients.  Claire presented her work which has involved listening to our patients and making changes to the way we deliver care, which in turn has improved their outcomes. It can be daunting I know coming along to the Board meeting, as you are not only presenting to the Board, but often to the public and the press too.  I would like you all to know that Claire represented you very well.

During 2013, Claire and her team received a number of patient stories that really made them consider if they could do things differently in ICU to improve the quality of care for their patients. They wanted to understand what they could do to reduce risk of pressure damage caused by some of the life-saving devices we have to use.

The outcomes of their hard work are impressive, we heard how in the ICU, pressure ulcer rates have reduced from 6.29% to 0.72% (the national average ranges between 4-10%).  What this means is that we have significantly reduced harm to our patients.  Pressure ulcers can be really nasty and are terribly uncomfortable for patients.  There is also a financial benefit to this improvement, it can cost around £1,000 per day for a patient in ICU, and so whilst this work wasn’t established to save money, the quality improvements have also had a positive financial impact too.

I would like to applaud Claire and her colleagues for their work, this is great work for the benefit of our patients.  I will be speaking to Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse about the possibly of creating a short film about the initiative so we can share it wider, and also if we could deliver some short, lunch-time style lectures to ensure we share the learning.


I wrote to you all recently about Sir Robert Francis’s report on whistleblowing in the NHS – Freedom To Speak Up.  I was pleased that at this week’s Board meeting that a number of actions in respect of the recommendations within this important report were approved:

·             Early appointment of a ‘Freedom To Speak Up Guardian’ – this will be through open advertisement within the organisation.  A role specification is currently being produced, but in order to ensure that the guardian can act in a “genuinely independent capacity” in issues of dealing with concerns, it is strongly suggested that they must be from a clinical background and currently carry no role within existing governance structures;

·             Bruce Jassi, newly appointed Non–Executive Director, to be the nominated Non-Executive Director with responsibility for receiving concerns directly from employees (or from the Freedom To Speak Up Guardian) and for reporting to the Board;

·             David Walker, Medical Director, to be the nominated Executive Director with responsibility for receiving any concerns;

·             Raising concerns and whistleblowing to become a standing agenda item of the Trust’s Quality Committee.

We are committed to ensuring we learn lessons from how we and other organisations handle concerns and to improve our current processes.  We have for some time been very open about encouraging anyone who works in our hospitals to come forward and raise the alarm when they see practices which they do not think are acceptable, and this doesn’t just apply to clinical areas.  The actions we are taking with the appointment of a ‘Freedom To Speak Up Guardian’ I believe go much further than we have in the past and I hope start to demonstrate this commitment to you all.

As always, I would welcome your views on this.  You may find the Board paper useful to read as it also lists the other actions which we have agreed to do, including a programme of work with NHS Employers to review our current practices and propose further improvements in this area.

But, as with most things, actions often speak louder than words and this is just the start.  What we must do is ensure these actions are not token gestures and make a meaningful difference to everyone who uses our hospitals.

Link to the Board papers:


Thank you to everyone that came along to our Leadership Conference on Tuesday. It was great to see so many of you taking the time out from your busy schedules to join us.  I would also like to say thank you to Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund for delivering the keynote speech.  Chris was clear, that if we want to continually improve, then staff at all levels of the organisation need to be involved in ensuring patient safety and quality of care are the top of everyone’s list, regardless of role.  I can’t think of a person in our hospitals whose role doesn’t impact in one way or another in the care, treatment or experience of our patients.  Administrators, catering, IT, suppliers, cleaners, administrators, nurses, physiotherapists, midwives, doctors, engineers…. It’s a long list of occupations, but each and every one of you can make a difference.

I saw this difference this week at the RLI.  I spent the day, as part of an internal ‘mock’ CQC inspection team visiting different areas of the hospital. There is still more to do in a number of areas, our buildings need to be improved and we still have people who maybe aren’t yet feeling the benefit of the investments that have been made to raise standards.  But, I did see a picture of improvement, not just in terms of increased staffing levels, but also in terms of the professionalism and attitude – thank you.

I also attended one of the patient flow meetings, on a really difficult day – with pressures being felt right across the Trust, particularly at FGH.  What I witnessed was a well organised and well represented meeting from each hospital.  Colleagues from a range of clinical and non-clinical backgrounds were working well together to ease the pressure for our patients.  Clearly this ‘new way of working’ is now how we do business, it was good to see and experience again the difference it is making.

When we launched the Leadership Conference last year we agreed it would become part of our calendar of events, providing an opportunity for leaders from every corner of the Trust to come together and spend quality time focussing on specific aspects of our priorities.  I feel the conferences are progressing in the right direction, however I would welcome your views please.


Earlier this month, I wrote to all members of our ‘leadership tree’ sharing a hard copy of our Five Year Strategy and Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) (

We said in the QIP that alongside Listening into Action (LiA), we would establish an Improvement Hub.  The work to establish the Hub is well underway. The role of the Improvement Hub is to increase our staff capacity and capability to deliver quality improvements, with our focus on patient safety. By increasing understanding of quality and safety, we can start to develop our culture of improvement.

This is a call to action for expressions of interest to be an Improvement Champion and join a development programme aligned to delivering improvements. You may already be involved in improvement work, such as an LIA Pioneer Scheme, have had previous training or no knowledge of improvement methodologies. The programme is open to anyone interested in both clinical and non-clinical roles. You need support from your line manager to be able to attend the training and deliver an improvement.

The training will be provided both at Lancaster and Barrow and be 4 ½ days spanning a period of 5 months, commencing  May  2015 with an initial launch session for a half day prior to the training starting and finishing with the combined group session on 6th August.

This is an opportunity to put quality at the heart of our work and develop your skills in improvement methodology. On completion you will have a role in supporting others to continue the spread of improvement knowledge within your ward, department and division.

Please send your expression of interest to Helen Pye by Thursday 30th April 2015 via or post to Helen Pye, Improvement Hub Lead, Learning and Development Department, Women’s Unit, Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

You have all been incredible in your involvement to date with Listening into Action, and we want to harness this enthusiasm and desire to make change and improve. There will be other opportunities in the future, but please, regardless of your role in the organisation, and especially if you feel you haven’t had the opportunity before to get involved, speak to your manager about submitting an expression of interest.



As the executive sponsor for one of the LiA Pioneering Schemes – “Health and safety CSWs undertaking care of Dementia patients”, I am delighted to invite staff to attend one of our upcoming scheme’s Big Conversations.  If you can attend, please email Dan Willis to confirm your

·        Tuesday 31st March – FGH Education Centre Teaching room 1 – 10:00 Start

·        Thursday 2nd April – WGH Education Centre Room 4 – 09:00 Start

·        Monday 13th April – RLI Southfield Meeting Room – 13:00 Start


We have put a lot of effort into providing more information regarding our new strategy ( and this week we started a round of ‘drop in sessions’ for staff to find out more. Based on staff comments at the LIA Big Conversations, these have been arranged across a wide of shift patterns and weekends and are being delivered by divisional and corporate leaders. If you can please take the time to come along, it is your opportunity to find out more and ask questions.  Details of the sessions are in the “Roundup of Articles” section below. We are collating all of the questions and answers to share them with you all in April.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 6 March

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Posted by woodfordp


As you will know, the Report of the Morecambe Bay Investigation was published on Tuesday this week. I appreciate that not everyone will have had the time to read it yet, however I would urge all staff to do so.  You can read the statement and full report on the Investigation website:

The following is an extract from the Investigation Press Release:

“The Morecambe Bay Investigation was established by the Secretary of State for Health in September 2013 following concerns over serious incidents in the maternity department at Furness General Hospital (FGH).

Covering January 2004 to June 2013, the report concludes the maternity unit at FGH was dysfunctional and that serious failures of clinical care led to unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies.

The Investigation Panel also reviewed pregnancies at other maternity units run by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. It found serious concerns over clinical practice were confined to FGH.”

This Trust made some very serious mistakes in the way it cared for mothers and their babies. More than that, the same mistakes were repeated. And after making those mistakes, there was a lack of openness from the Trust in acknowledging to families what had happened. This report vindicates these families.

For these reasons, on behalf of the Trust, we have apologised unreservedly to the families concerned. I’m deeply sorry that so many people have suffered as a result of these mistakes. It is my duty to ensure that lessons are learned and that we do everything we possibly can to make sure nothing like this happens again.

The Trust welcomes the publication of the Morecambe Bay Investigation report, accepts and acknowledges the criticisms and accepts its recommendations without reservation.

The Report makes 44 recommendations, 18 of which are directed at our Trust and the remainder for the wider NHS.

As a Trust Board, we will be meeting next week to formally receive and consider the findings of the report, including how we take the recommendations forward.

Following this meeting, the next steps will be shared with you all, including details of a staff briefing session.

You can read and watch the Trust’s response to the Report on our website and intranet:

As you know, we have been supporting staff from all over the Trust throughout the work of the Investigation. Just because the report is now published doesn’t mean that the support has stopped. We still have various different ways that you can get support or assistance if you feel you need it. In the first instance, please talk to your line manager or email the internal Investigation team on:

The weekly Investigation drop in sessions are still taking place across our three main hospitals. Further information is available on the Investigation page of the intranet - accessible via: http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/mnsi/Pages/default.aspx.

You may also be aware that we have established an Information Line for staff and members of the public who have any additional queries following the publication of the Investigation’s report. The Information Line is signposting callers to the right people who can help them. The number for the Information Line is 0800 028 2340. It is in operation from 8am - 8pm, until Monday 9 March.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 27 February

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Posted by corinnekemp


In this Friday’s message I want to bring you up to speed with a number of things. This time of year is always busy as we come to the end of one NHS Financial Year and set everything up for the next. This includes agreeing our contracts with commissioners, agreeing our quality and safety objectives, operational goals and many more. This year is typical of this time with a number of other important areas featuring prominently.

Firstly, we now know that The Morecambe Bay Investigation Report, led by Dr Bill Kirkup will be published next Tuesday. The independent investigation has taken an extremely thorough look at maternity and neonatal services across our Trust, looking back over a period of ten years. Many of the headlines relating to serious failings over recent years have been about FGH, I wanted to again reiterate that the independent investigation has not only looked right across the Trust, but also spoken to a wide range of external organisations, both locally and nationally.

This is a very important report for everyone connected with the Trust, I want to ensure that we all take the time, individually and collectively to read every word and to fully understand the content. It is likely that there will be recommendations made for the Trust and possibly other organisations.  I know I am speaking for the whole of the Trust Board when I say that we will want to act upon all of the recommendations made.

We cannot take our foot off the gas and must continue to take the necessary action to continuously improve. Although I think we can now see evidence of some improvement – it is clear we have much further to go. I will be working with my team and staff across the Trust to make sure we relentlessly pursue this. Our ambition is to be among the best performing hospitals, being honest and open in all we do, particularly when things go wrong and we make mistakes.

Secondly, you will have heard me say that cultural change takes time – and it does, I hear lots of examples of positive behaviours and effective team working. This needs to be consistent – right across the Trust and happening in every team. We have invested heavily in development and training for different leadership groups and teams. We will be focussing on supporting and developing “middle managers” over the next 6-12 months. Middle managers are often the staff caught in the middle of decision making processes and have tough jobs managing their span of control. However there is evidence that where they are not visible and supported, then they can (sometimes inadvertently) act as “blocks” to communications or swift action where it needs to be taken.

These managers are key in ensuring we have an effective flow of information across our organisation and connecting with each part of the leadership structure. They are essential in carrying important messages to front line staff and from these staff to the senior leadership team and to the Board. Together with the executive team, I will be looking at new ways to engage with them in the future.

The third area I want to mention is Better Care Together – or BCT, which is our clinical strategy. I hope by now you have noticed the information boards around our hospitals and new material on our website (, which now also includes a short film. As you know we are in the process of negotiating funding to support the strategy and should have more to tell you soon.  We believe BCT is in line with the newly published NHS strategy (the 5 year Forward View).

We have also put forward a bid to be what is known as a National “Vanguard site” ( Our proposal has been shortlisted and again I will give you information as soon as I have it on whether we have been successful. We believe that this would accelerate our progress and bring with it financial and other support and backing to make the changes.

And finally is the work we are doing in the run up to our CQC re-inspection. We are making progress. In some areas this is not as quick as we would like. The drive to recruit into key posts continues and we intend to accelerate the pace in a number of areas (particularly in medicine). The Mock Inspection visits have helped us focus on those areas which need support as a matter of priority. One of these areas is Medical Unit 2. Those staff who have been talking with our Chief Nurse and Medical Director will know the problems in working in that environment. We will do all we can over the next few weeks and months to improve the physical setting, but also to support additional leadership roles to help the smooth running of a unit which is physically separate from the main hospital building. We are also refreshing our signage across all the sites. I have seen the early changes and they are much better and I hope will assist patients, visitors and staff navigate their way round hospitals with greater ease.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 20 January

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Posted by corinnekemp


I enjoy my job, and the last couple of weeks have been particularly rewarding as it has involved connecting with people. It was a privilege to again attend and present at our annual staff awards and over the last week or so, I’ve been able to meet many more staff, visit wards and discuss our strategy with local MPs.

I’ve spoken many times on the importance of speaking up and raising concerns. And this subject continues to dominate my thoughts and discussions.  On the 11 February, Sir Robert Francis QC published his review on whistleblowing in the NHS – Freedom to Speak Up.

His report includes ongoing issues in the NHS, such as where staff have been deterred from speaking up when they want to raise a concern.

Over 19,000 staff from across the NHS responded to a survey and the review spoke to over 600 people who shared their own experiences.  The review found examples of organisations that supported staff to raise concerns, but he also highlights that some staff were put off speaking because they feared victimisation.

Proposals from the review include:

  • action at every level of the NHS to make raising concerns part of every member of staff’s normal working life;
  • a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian in every NHS trust – a named person in every hospital to give independent support and advice to staff who want to speak up and hold the board to account it fails to focus on the patient safety issue;
  • a National Independent Officer who can support local Guardians, to intervene when cases are going wrong and identify any failing to address dangers to patient safety, the integrity of the NHS or injustice to staff;
  • a new support scheme to help good NHS staff who have found themselves out of a job as a result of raising concerns get back into work.

In his report Sir Robert sets out 20 Principles and Actions which aim to create the right conditions for NHS staff to speak up, share what works right across the NHS and get all organisations up to the standard of the best and provide redress when things go wrong in future. You can read about them here:

As a Trust we have a number of initiatives to encourage anyone working in our hospitals to come forward and let us know if they have a concern, and I would urge any staff member to do so.  We will support you.  If you don’t know my thoughts on acceptable behaviour in hospitals, please take a minute or so to watch this short clip:

However, we don’t get it right all of the time and we must improve on that. Not all staff feel confident in being supported if they speak up. I would really appreciate your thoughts – I would be grateful if you could take some time to consider this report and let me know what you think, how could we make them work for us?

This report gives us a huge opportunity to get it right.  We should be embracing every concern and saying thank you for bringing it to our attention. When we talk about safety, it is the safety of everyone, not just patients.

There are a couple of thoughts on my mind, such as having named members of the Board responsible for this, perhaps also trained, paid staff to act as “Speak up guardians”.  Please let me know what you think.  Would having a member of staff, perhaps a clinician, independent of the Board and HR processes available to share concerns with something you would welcome?

We are going to discuss this shortly as a Board and I will feedback to you our thoughts and how we might take this important matter forward.  What I do know, is that it won’t move forward without working together on it.


I recently asked our leaders to “hold” the 24th March in their diaries for our next Trust wide Leadership Conference. I am now pleased to share further details with you.

This is our second Leadership conference and is open to all staff at UHMBT who consider themselves to be leaders. Perhaps you manage or supervise a team or lead on a project?

Space is limited to 150 delegates, therefore it is on a first come, first served basis.  We were ‘sold out’ at the last conference so please reserve your place early to avoid disappointment!

This conference is taking place on Tuesday 24 March, between 9.30am to 4.30pm, in the Private Dining Room at Lancaster University.  The morning session will focus on “Energising for Improvement” and the afternoon session on Leading Improvement. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Director of Workforce and Organisational Development David Wilkinson is leading on the coordination of the day and topic sessions.  We’re delighted that David’s team have secured Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund to attend and deliver a key note talk.  Prior to taking up his position at the King’s Fund, Chris was Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Birmingham between 1992 and 2014 and Director of the Health Services Management Centre at the university between 1993 and 2000.

From 2000 to 2004 he was seconded to the Department of Health, where he was Director of the Strategy Unit, working with ministers on NHS reform.

He has advised the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank and has served as a consultant on health care reform to governments in a number of countries.

His talk will focus on the leadership role in setting vision, supporting and enabling staff to make change and improve care.

Please can you make every effort to attend this day, and also please promote this to managers / leaders within your work areas. You can book onto this via TMS and successful applicants will receive a parking permit.

We had a few “hic ups” on the day last time with parking.  We will send out parking details nearer to the time, and as we did with the LiA Big Conversations, we are looking at the opportunity perhaps for a coach to pick people up from RLI.


I know the issue of signage is raised on a weekly, if not daily basis by staff and patients and it also featured as part of feedback in the LiA Big Conversations.

If it is difficult for staff to find their way around, how do we expect patients, visitors or our CQC Inspectors to do so?

Great news! Our new wayfinding signage will start to be installed at Westmorland General Hospital on Monday. The new signs and signage positions have been developed in partnership with patient and staff representatives, who have walked the corridors with our estates team. The team have also worked with individual wards and clinics, as well as patient groups, to simplify names of units and areas.

There will be some disruption while the new signs are being installed, and some unavoidable confusion caused to patients, so we will have a team of volunteer “Wayfinding Wizards”, clearly identified, helping patients out. Please do remember to look out for patients who may need your help as you move around the hospital, and support the volunteers in showing them the way to their ward or clinic.  As always, if you see someone standing still looking at their appointment letter, please go up to them and ask if you can help them – we’ve all been there and know what a big difference a friendly “can I help you?” can make.

The new signage is very much needed and will be a real boost to our patients’ experience of our hospitals. We want their visits here to be as smooth and stress-free as possible, and ease of finding your way around is a big part of that. Once the new signage is in place at Kendal, the estates team will be moving straight on to Furness General Hospital, then Royal Lancaster Infirmary.


Our Annual NHS Staff Survey Results are about to be released and I am pleased to report that we are still seeing steady improvement and an upward trend in a number of important areas. It is fair to say that we haven’t seen the gains to the level we had hoped for, but the direction of travel is definitely up.  Thank you to everyone who completed a survey, I believe our response rate this year was above the national average.  David Wilkinson will be sharing the full results once they have officially been published.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 13 February

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Posted by corinnekemp


The Trust Board held an Extraordinary Board meeting yesterday to formally receive this important report. The next Trust Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 25 March, where we will be spending time discussing the report, including the recommendations, governance arrangements and next steps.

This meeting is being held in public at Forum 28 in Barrow. As always, details will be posted on our website, including copies of papers.

Again, if you haven’t yet done so – as the report affects everyone in the Trust, not just maternity services – I would be very grateful if you could take the time to read it.  You can access the report, our response and unreserved apologies from our website:

Weekly information and support drop-in sessions for staff are still being held each week, at each of our three main sites. Details are available from the staff intranet:http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/mnsi/Pages/default.aspx.


Last month, we shared our vision for the future of health and care for the population of the Morecambe Bay area – better care together – with all of our staff, governors and volunteers.

Better care together is the result of two years of clinically led work, in partnership with our Clinical Commissioning Groups and local health and care providers, to review how patient services are delivered both in the hospital and in the community. It is our new plan for ensuring health and care services across Morecambe Bay can remain safe, are of a consistently high standard, and can be financially sustained not just for the next five years, but well into the future.

We’ve previously explained that we remain in discussion with NHS England and Monitor on the next steps, including how best to access available finance. As part of these discussions, you may remember that the better care together partnership applied to be part of the first tranche of transformation projects funded under NHS England’s Five Year Forward View Vanguard programme.

Please don’t confuse ‘Vanguard’ with the company that supplies mobile healthcare facilities, such as operating theatres – it is completely different!

Last Tuesday (10 March), NHS England announced that better care together has been chosen to take a national lead on transforming care for patients and will become one of the initial Vanguard areas.

This is a great achievement for everyone working in and connected with our Trust, especially for our local communities.

We were amongst 269 Vanguard ‘bidders’ who put forward submissions for funding support. Only 29 of the most innovative plans were taken forward who will have access to a £200 million transformation fund.

At the heart of our five year Strategy is quality improvement for everyone who uses our hospitals and local community services. It isn’t just about improving services for patients, but also for everyone that provides them. Better care together details how, in partnership with other providers and commissioners, we intend to break down traditional barriers between hospitals, GPs, community and social care services so that we work as one and not in competition.

As part of the Vanguard application process, colleagues from the Trust and local commissioners recently met with leaders from NHS England to present the better care together proposal.  This presentation and the short Q&A that followed is now available on YouTube:

I would like to say thank you again to everyone who has been involved in better care together. It has taken an incredible amount of hard work and commitment from staff across many organisations to get us to this stage.

This isn’t the end – it is only the end of the beginning.

We have a lot to do as an organisation to further improve our reputation and instil a greater confidence in the public, however this is an extremely positive development. As a result of everyone’s work, we were shortlisted amongst some very well respected NHS organisations, such as Salford and Northumbria.

We will share more information with you as it becomes available. This is great news for the whole health economy and a real vote of confidence in our vision for the future of our health services.

In addition to the posters, newsletters and website where you can find out more about better care together, many of our clinical leaders are holding short ‘drop in’ sessions over the next month for staff to attend. I know it will be difficult for many of you to take the time out, however, they have scheduled them across a wide range of shifts, including weekends. I would be grateful if managers and supervisors could be as supportive as possible in releasing staff to attend these sessions. The dates and times are detailed in the footer of this email.


I continue to be really impressed with the way in which all of you are engaging and taking part in Listening into Action. The people leading our first set of Pioneering schemes, designed to make a big difference by changing the way we do things, are currently holding their own Big Conversations involving staff and patients from the services being changed. If you are asked to take part, please do give as much of your time as you can and be the change you want to see!

Our first wave of Quick Wins is already showing success. We’ll be holding our second set of monthly “Dump the Junk” days on Thursday and Friday next week (19 and 20 March), so please contact the Patient Environment Team to collect any old equipment, furniture and other things cluttering up your wards, offices and departments.

Also, please keep your reports coming in to the email address and let us know your top ‘eyesores’ around our sites that we need to fix.

Look out for posters coming soon that will set out the standards we should all be meeting every day in the way we deal with one another, and how you can start the week as you mean to go on by taking part in “Manners Monday”.

We have also identified some brand new “Quick Wins” – things that can be changed quickly but will make a big difference:

  • Work began this week to fix broken PODS and install new Lamson tubes, and is due to be completed by 27 March
  • We have made more Webex licenses available so that more people are able to host cross-site meetings from their desks, with more training available through the IT team

Keep your ideas coming in! The LiA sponsor group review every piece of information submitted by staff, so your inspiration has a great chance of being made into reality! You can email the team


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 13 February

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Posted by corinnekemp


Firstly, thank you to the staff that were able to attend the Morecambe Bay Investigation briefing session yesterday at FGH. This was arranged at very short notice I know, but as soon as the Chair and I knew that the report was intended to be published the week commencing 23 February 2015 we asked for it to be set up immediately. However, please don’t worry if you couldn’t make this, there are many other opportunities to find out more and ask questions.

As you will know, we have been holding weekly staff drop in sessions for around a year now across our main hospitals. We are aware that as we get closer to publication, press interest and speculation will continue to rise, and this will naturally make people feel anxious. We want to make sure that you are all as informed and supported as possible throughout so we have arranged to put on a number of additional update sessions for staff. The sessions will be delivered by a HR specialist and a member of the Chief Executive’s office. We have tried to accommodate a wide range of shifts including weekends which I hope you find useful.

It is important to remember that this is an independent investigation and we may not currently know all the details that you want to talk about. However, we do think that we are in a position to assist you all further in terms of what we do know now, what we are doing to prepare for the publication of the report, and what the likely media impact will be and how we will deal with it.

We must never forget why the investigation was set up and sponsored by the Secretary of State for Health. It was established to look into past failings in our maternity and neonatal services between 2004 and 2013. The Investigation’s work is important in not only identifying what happened at the Trust historically and what has changed since, but also in hopefully answering the many questions the families that lost loved ones have.

It would be inappropriate of me to second guess the contents of this important Report, but we already know that the Trust has historically been responsible for failing a number of families with the most tragic of consequences. It is our responsibility to ensure we never let his happen again, and we must use the Investigation’s report to help us fully understand what happened and learn any lessons that need to be learned for the benefit of everyone who uses our hospitals.


This week has been quite a milestone in the history of the organisation. On Tuesday, we shared our plans for the future with you all – better care together.

I know it was quite a long message that we shared by email but we were very mindful that we’ve had a lot of new staff join the Trust over the last two years. Also, whilst we’ve put a lot of messages out about the strategy over this time, I realise it doesn’t carry the same weight without the detail behind it, such as the what, when and where.

I know how busy you all are, however I would urge you all to take a few minutes or longer to read some of the information materials that we have produced for you. Strategy display boards are now appearing at each of our sites with headlines from the report, our Trust website ( has copies of the strategy to download and read, and we have newsletters appearing in each of our hospitals for you to take away. We will also be updating the website next week with a short film, helping to further explain some of the reasons why we need to change. I hope some of this information, such as the newsletters, is also of interest to your friends and families. We spend so much of our working lives here that they are often just as connected to it all as we are!

We have also begun to plan a series of drop in sessions later in March for staff to come along and discuss the plans with clinical leaders. Please keep a look out for the dates. These will be across all sites and a variety of shift patterns.


If you are leader in the organisation please put 24 March 2015 in your diary as we are aiming to hold our second half day Leadership Conference. Leaders come with different titles, not just that of Manager or Director. We have leaders at every level, in every division.

Last year we held a Leadership Conference in Lancaster where over 150 people came along to find out more about our plans. We asked everyone who attended if they would like to repeat this and the answer was yes.

We are confirming arrangements and will shortly issue out invites and booking arrangements. This will be a great opportunity to regroup as leaders, take stock of where we are at ahead of a new financial year, and delve a bit deeper into perhaps one or two key areas. I am delighted that Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund, will also be joining us and talking to you all.


A couple of things to sign off with this week.

Firstly, our staff awards. I know there will be a lot on the awards in the Weekly News over the coming weeks, but I’d like to thank everyone that attended the Your Health Heroes Awards and the Long Service and Staff Achievement Awards over the last week.

I had a great evening on Friday at the Your Health Heroes awards, and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the achievements of so many great staff and volunteers. Congratulations to you all. I also want to say well done and thank you to the organisers. This year’s awards (embarrassment time!) were largely arranged by Beth Addenbrook in our Communications Team. Beth has been with the team for about two years – first as an apprentice then more recently as the Staff Engagement Officer. Organising such events is stressful, and it is what goes on behind the scenes that nobody sees that makes the difference. Well done Beth and the rest of her team – keep it up!

David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, attended the Long Service and Staff Achievement awards this week. Studying at any level, whilst also trying to hold down a job, let alone personal commitments, always deserves recognition in my book. A great achievement by you all so well done!

Recognising long service is important. These are people who have shown dedication and commitment through significant change, and stuck with it. You can go on all the courses in the world but the experience and knowledge that our longer term staff have is invaluable. When you are stuck on a task and not sure what to do, remember you may have a colleague in your team who has been here 10, 20 or 30 more years and possibly experienced it all before. This experience is something organisations can lose as they make change. As we move forward with better care together, we need to keep our experienced staff as you can’t often buy what they already know

I’d also like to say welcome to all of the new staff that have joined us recently.

In December, we had a range of new staff join us. To name just a few, we had five registered nurses, two midwives, three unregistered nurses, a Consultant Paediatrician, a Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a Speciality Doctor in Dermatology, and four administrative and clerical staff members. January 2015 also saw a variety of different staff joining the Trust, including five occupational therapists, two radiographers, a physiotherapist, and a pharmacist.

Please remember, that these are just a few of the many different staff that have joined us over the last two months. I think it is really important that we share this information with you so every month, I’ll do a short update on the types of staff we had joining the Trust in the month before. I would encourage each division, if you don’t already, to share with colleagues and other divisions, a summary of new starters each month.

To those that have joined us recently – welcome! I hope your first few weeks have gone well and please let me know how you are getting on. I would be very interested in hearing your first impressions and thoughts on what it is like joining the Trust. I was once the ‘new person’ too, and I know how it can feel.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message – 6 February

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Posted by corinnekemp


Today is going to be a long day for me, but one which I always look forward to. Tonight, I have the pleasure of attending our annual staff awards – Your Health Heroes.

When finances are tight, many organisations cut back on such events, however I believe it is important that we continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of everyone who works in and supports our hospitals.

I was pleased that last year we also launched our monthly ‘star’ awards where we can celebrate on a more regular basis. I know colleagues have been listening to feedback and looking at how teams can perhaps be better recognised on a more formal and regular basis. However, please don’t hold back with arranging your own department or divisional awards – we also saw our CQUIN teams last year hold their own achievement event, together with patients providing their own stories.

Regardless of whether you were nominated, shortlisted or chosen as a ‘winner’ tonight – as far as I’m concerned, we have a team of winners’ right across the trust. For those of you attending, please enjoy the evening and have a safe journey to and from the event. Quick reminder for those travelling from Barrow, please allow extra travel time due to the road works!


Again, another Friday Message and another short film! This time outpatients have stepped up to the plate to share with everyone some of the improvements that they’ve made and what they still have to do. I’ve said it before, but if you want to make a short film, in your words explaining to colleagues and the public what you do in your areas and how you are making a difference, then we will support you. Please drop me a line and I will arrange it.

Well done to Helen Pye and colleagues for this short film, it is great to hear and see how they’ve involved in patients in their journey of improvement, it is absolutely essential:

I receive many positive comments about our new films, from members of the public and recently from our regulators – people are taking note.


I explained last week that I was meeting on Friday with members of the public in Barrow as part of an NHS listening event organised by local GP Arabella Onslow. I was pleased to see so many of our staff attend the event – it was a great opportunity to listen to the experiences of our patients. All of their comments have been captured and will be shared with the relevant areas for action.

The event was held in Barrow Town Hall and ended up as standing room only! We heard a wide mix of experiences some good and some not so. However, what came through time and time again was the importance of speaking to people politely, as well as how important the ‘small’ things are to our patients, such as clear signage and information.

I would like to thank Arabella and her colleagues for arranging the event and most of all the public for taking the time out to share their experiences with us. I am looking forward to attending future sessions.

I also spent time this week, together the Chairman and other colleagues meeting local people from the South Lakes area. We spent a good hour on Tuesday evening at Westmorland General Hospital updating them on our progress as well as taking questions from them.

It will be no surprise to you, but just like the meeting in Barrow, it is the ‘small’ things that made the difference to them. We had a good discussion about how difficult parking was for them as patients at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and how tatty some areas were looking such as in Medical Unit 2 at the RLI, particularly the poor signage in some parts of the building.

We’ve recently identified many of the issues they raised at the RLI as part of a recent mock inspection and they were pleased to hear we are taking action. If you are one of the departments or clinics that uses pieces of paper as signage please stop doing it! Can managers of these areas please contact our estates team and get them replaced with proper signs. If you have any issues in sorting it out, please contact Tristram Reynolds, our Associate Director of Estates and Facilities for assistance. As you know there is a much bigger project for replacing all of our signs, however we can’t accept this standard in the meantime, maybe we have in the past, but please, let’s not going forward.

When we meet with the public it isn’t all about negative experiences. I heard on Tuesday night a gentleman recall his recent experience of FGH, it went something like this:

“I received a letter from the hospital telling me my appointment was at FGH. The appointment was on a day that was convenient. When I arrived at the hospital I thought parking would be awful but I found a space and parked straight away. When I came into the reception it was new and bright. I took a seat and there were several places I could buy a drink which I didn’t expect. The receptionist, I think a man and a women, were very helpful. I was called for my appointment on time, treated well and left on time. And all of my records were there!”

It really was a model experience. I know this is a very typical experience across our hospitals every day, but it does often go unnoticed. Well done to everyone for creating such a positive experience for this gentleman who I am sure will repeat it many times, as he did to a full room on Tuesday.


I’ve received many letters this week from staff regarding car parking at the RLI. As you all know car parking at the RLI is not good. The main car park is more often than not full by around 9am and patients arrive at clinic frustrated and concerned about being late.

There isn’t a neat and tidy immediate solution, I wish there was. Longer term, and we’ve started the planning and designs, is to have a multi-storey car park at the RLI, but in the meantime we need to sort out the parking for our patients.

We have a car park at the rear of the hospital for staff, which again is usually full at peak times. Ultimately we don’t have enough spaces for all of our staff or patients – it is that simple.

As you know from the communications last year and again recently in Weekly News, barriers were recently installed on the patient and visitors car park – these became operational last weekend. Patients and visitors now pay on exit, only paying for the time they use and they can also now pay by other means, such as a debit card.

The result on Monday was incredibly frustrated staff who found it difficult or impossible to park on the site at times, but patients who were able to park at all times of the day.

I know our estates teams have been looking at many different solutions over recent months, which has included renting car parking space locally, such as at the local University, a school and other locations, all of which have been unsuccessful. They are continuing to discuss with staff side and union colleagues possible other solutions, but being honest, it is unlikely that any one solution will sort the parking challenges we have in the short term. Together we will need to create a package of different options, ranging from possibly some further local offsite parking, better cycling facilities and maybe different arrangements for those staff working nights and weekends when the pressure on patient car parking is at its lowest.

The safety of our staff is important and I know Tristram and his team will have this at the front of their mind.

We’ve already received a number of suggestions from staff as to how parking could be further improved and I would continue to welcome these. We also have to be mindful that if we are able to build a new, multi-storey car park, then we need to be prepared that for a good period of time when we may not have much parking at all and a solution will be needed in the interim.

I wanted to let you know that I am aware, I do understand the strength of feeling on the matter and our teams are looking again at further opportunities – but staff will need to meet us half way, as going back to how we were last week would mean that we will still not have enough car parking spaces for everyone.

I will keep you all updated with progress and thank you for your patience.


I received last night a copy of a letter from the Royal College of Physicians regarding our JAG accreditation, I am delighted to share with you all that the endoscopy unit at Westmorland General Hospital received successful accreditation. Well done to everyone involved, thoroughly deserved and a great recognition of your hard work.

JAG Accreditation is the formal recognition that an endoscopy service has demonstrated that it has the competence to deliver against the measures in the endoscopy GRS Standards.

Achieving the accreditation is important for many reasons. It ensures we are measured against other units, provides a level of reassurance for our patients and helps us to demonstrate the high standards that our staff are able to achieve.

To achieve full JAG Accreditation an endoscopy service must provide clear evidence that they have met all of the GRS Standards. JAG accreditation assessment visits are booked once a service has demonstrated a minimum of a year participating in the GRS standards and at the agreed GRS levels for accreditation. (JAG = Joint Advisory Group, GRS = Global Rating Scale –


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 23 January

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Posted by corinnekemp


“It’s not OK to behave that way.”

I can’t praise our staff enough at times. I know how hard all of you work, and your incredible commitment to our patients during some real times of pressure is clear to see. However, it has become more and more apparent to me as I walk around our wards and departments, that we have a real mixed bag of what is considered acceptable behaviour.

I feel that, at times, we accept second best and let our standards slip. Every day, we will have staff and volunteers who go out of their way to smile at a visitor, stop and help someone who looks a little lost or perhaps pick up litter. But, and this is the part I find very disappointing, I also encounter a good number of people who feel it is acceptable not to do these things. I want to put on record that it’s not ok to behave that way, and it isn’t in keeping with our values.

This was echoed at the Big Conversation sessions in December when I heard, on many occasions, that colleagues felt the same way.

Today, I want to let you all know that I have listened, and I want to do something about it. But, being the Chief Executive or not, I can’t do this on my own. I know it is sometimes easier to just tell you exactly what’s on my mind, so to help do this, I recorded the following short film on my phone yesterday, which sums up my feelings and request to you all (also available on our YouTube channel:

We must remember that for some of our patients and their families, their visit to our hospital could be life changing, for so many reasons. We don’t have a single department that is responsible for ensuring that every encounter with our Trust is as positive as it can be. It is the responsibility of everyone working in our hospitals.

To help bring this to life, I thought it would be beneficial to share the below link from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust again, as it really does bring home the incredible responsibility that everyone working in our hospitals has:


I know there was probably some healthy scepticism (and possibly still is) about Listening into Action (LiA) being introduced at the Trust. I said in August 2014 when we launched it, that it would be a new way of working, and five months in, I am extremely pleased at the level of involvement from a huge number of staff.

In a short period of time, we’ve seen 1,645 staff from all corners of the Trust complete a Pulse Survey – each one being clear about what it’s like to work here at the moment. On top of that, over 300 staff attended the Big Conversations sessions, telling me what gets in their way and what they want to see changed.

Following the Big Conversations, we asked staff to come forward and let us know what other ideas they had for change. 21 of your colleagues, either as individuals or as part of a team, submitted improvement schemes that they wanted to be considered. Thank you to everyone one of you who took the time to get involved – another great show of enthusiasm to improve.

I made a commitment at the Big Conversations that I would announce those schemes that we are able to take forward this week. Today, I am pleased to confirm that:

  • 11 of the 21 schemes will go forward as Pioneering Schemes
  • Five schemes are being taken forward as Enabling our People Schemes. These are schemes that have been identified in the Big Conversations as areas that create blockages in the system and hinder frontline staff to deliver care
  • We aim to deliver a series of Quick Wins throughout the year. Quick wins are those things that we can just get on and change that staff said really matter to them.

The 11 Pioneering Schemes are:

  • Dieticians – introducing mobile devices to enhance patient care
  • Implementation of an elderly assessment unit to improve interdisciplinary team working and the patient journey
  • Surgical Centre injection list – enhancing patient care
  • Early identification of Acute Kidney Injury
  • Improving patient experience for Intensive Care Unit outliers
  • The relocation of pre-operative cataract clinics
  • Better Dementia Care through trained Clinical Support Workers
  • A Diabetic Centre for patients in Morecambe Bay
  • Intensive Care Unit – rehabilitation following critical illness
  • Ambulatory Care for Acute Surgical Units at FGH and the RLI
  • Increasing the number of fractured neck of femur patients taken to theatre within 36 hours

The five Enabling our People Schemes are:

  • Improving communications (a combination of three separate proposals)
  • Values and behaviours
  • An easy to navigate intranet
  • Delivering manual handling excellence
  • Records management

The immediate Quick Wins are:

  • Renaming “Divisions” – staff will be asked to enter a competition to rename Divisions
  • Budget authorisation limits – current budget authorisation limits to revert to previous year’s limits for ward and department managers
  • Dump the Junk – regular availability of skips on each site to ensure equipment and furniture that is no longer in use can be removed from ward and department areas
  • Manners Monday – campaign to highlight acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and values in all of us when conducting our day to day business
  • Eyesores – asking staff for the top ten eyesores on each site so we can target work to improve them.

The Pioneering and Enabling our People Schemes will be now be supported to deliver their goals over the next 20 weeks. There will then be a “Pass it on” celebration day in June, where all teams can share their journey and successes. At this point, we will also have the next wave of schemes ready to start so it will never be too late to get involved!

Liz McDougall, our LiA Lead, will be working with each scheme to share further details with you all over the coming weeks.

It is extremely exciting, and I believe a real milestone for our development and improvement plans so once again, thank you to everyone and good luck!


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 16 January

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Posted by corinnekemp


On many occasions, I’ve spoken and written about the importance of speaking out when anyone working in our hospitals believes the standard of care being provided falls below acceptable levels. It isn’t easy to do I know, and it can take a lot of courage. I would like to encourage any of you to put your hand up and raise the alarm if you think something isn’t right. There are many ways to raise a concern, and it doesn’t just have to be about a clinical matter. You can speak to your line manager, or another one of our leaders such as a Deputy Chief Nurse or Clinical Director, and we also have the safety stations at each site where can post your comments and concerns.

We will be reviewing our Whistleblowing Policy; however, you may be aware that there is a national review of whistleblowing in the NHS which will soon report its findings, and I am sure it will have recommendations for us all to consider. The Trust is a supporter of the Nursing Times ‘Speak out Safely’ campaign, and you can find our commitment to this campaign and a copy of the Policy on our website at the following link:

‘Freedom to speak up?’ is the independent review mentioned above and is focused on creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. The review, chaired by Sir Robert Francis QC, will provide independent advice and recommendations to ensure that:

  • NHS workers can raise concerns in the public interest with confidence that they will not suffer detriment as a result
  • appropriate action is taken when concerns are raised by NHS workers
  • where NHS whistleblowers are mistreated, those mistreating them will be held to account

The review is expected to report shortly and will consider independent mediation and appeal mechanisms to resolve disputes on whistleblowing fairly. Find out more about the independent review by clicking the link below:

I really do read all of the emails that I receive, and I would be very interested to hear your views on what else we can do to make sure we have the right environment for anyone working in our hospitals to feel confident that they can raise concerns.


I can confirm that it will be around 103 days until the CQC re-inspects our hospitals. As you would expect, I’ve been speaking a lot to the CQC, and I know that they want us to succeed just as much as we do.

We knew our CQC Improvement Plan could be much clearer, especially in helping people to better understand the progress that we are making. With this in mind, we’ve now updated the plan, and I am pleased to enclose a copy for your information. The plan isn’t about all of the improvements we’ve made across our hospitals but about those made to address the findings of the CQC’s last inspection. I know everyone is very busy but I would be grateful if you could take some time to read the new introduction, which provides a summary of our progress.



I was pleased to receive feedback from this month’s Team Brief that staff are asking questions about our strategy and plans. Together with our partners, we are continuing to discuss better care together with NHS England and Monitor, and getting very close to being able to share further information with you all.

We have been meeting with staff across the Trust, as well as with union colleagues asking how you would like us to share the plans. As a result, we are creating a simple set of materials to ensure that all staff, volunteers and governors will be able to access information in a variety of ways. In summary, this will include:

  • Each of our hospitals will have a display of the headlines from the strategy. You will notice that a number of corridors have started to be cleared and notes placed on the wall that the ‘strategy is coming soon’. At our Big Conversations, staff at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Morecambe reminded us not to forget about them and we have arranged for a display to be placed at QVH too.
  • Newsletter – this will expand on the corridor displays, allowing staff and visitors to receive a bit more detail. These will be available from each of our five sites, as well as online.
  • Summary Plan – this will be an online document, providing more detail on the key elements of the plan.
  • Web page – this will include a short video summarising why we need to change, as well as copies of all of the other materials.
  • Drop in sessions – I have asked the senior clinical leadership team to lead a wide range of drop in sessions throughout March. Sessions are being planned at all five sites, including weekends and evenings, providing everyone with an opportunity to ask questions of the people who have been instrumental in designing our future plans.
  • Medical Staffing Committee – the executive directors and Chair will be attending the MSC meeting on 29 January to share and discuss key elements of the plan.

The strategy is about the next five years, with some plans, such as transforming some of our hospital buildings taking around eight years to fully complete. It is important to note that we won’t have the answer to every question but we will discuss and capture all questions and share the answers with all staff.

I am very excited about the plans, and I hope you will be too. It has been a long time coming, but for very good reason. I regularly meet people who tell me what the “answer for Morecambe Bay” is. Suggestions usually include: building a brand new £400m+ hospital and basing it near Kendal; don’t change anything and just ask for more money; break the Trust up and merge with others, all the way through to building a tunnel or bridge under/over the Bay. Over the last two years, doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health professionals from our Trust have been working closely with local GPs and other professionals to review a wide range of possibilities – and as you know, this has led to many spurious headlines. This intense work has taken some time as it is really important that we get it right, not just for us, but for the next generation too.

As soon as we can share the details, which I hope will be in a matter of weeks, we will do so. As always, if anything changes, I will let you know.


I would like to put on record my thanks to Juliet Walters, our former Chief Operating Officer for her commitment and support to the Trust. Juliet left the Trust last week for pastures new. She joined the Trust back in 2012 as part of the interim team charged with starting the work of turning the Trust around. Juliet enjoyed the role, and when the opportunity to join us permanently came up she jumped at the chance. We’ve started the process of recruiting for a replacement Chief Operating Officer and I will ensure you are all kept updated. In the meantime, Phil Orwin has joined the Trust as our Interim Director of Operations. Phil will continue to receive the able support of our Deputy Chief Operating Officer, John Bannister.


It’s isn’t a Friday Message any more without a film! Week two of Dry January for me – find out how I’m getting on via the NHS Employers Blog site at the below link:

NHS Employers are also sharing a weekly ‘mocktail’ recipe – they look great! Why not try making one and join me, it’s not too late! Find out more at the link below:


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 9 January

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At the moment, when you turn on the TV, put the radio on, browse social media or read a newspaper, the NHS and the national A&E performance is hard to get away from, and I am sure it will be this way for some time to come.

It is clear that there is no single one reason why hospitals up and down the country are all experiencing a surge in demand at the same time. We do know that the A&E isn’t always the cause of the delays hospitals are facing, but often the symptom. It is however, often seen as the barometer for the rest of the hospital’s performance. I would argue in many cases, it is actually the barometer of performance for the local health and care system as we are inextricably linked, hence the need to work so closely with our local partners.

The headlines currently are about meeting the ‘4 hour target’ – a national standard for all patients visiting A&E to be seen, treated, and either admitted or discharged. Targets are all well and good, but what is essential is the quality of care being provided. We know that treating patients to a good standard in a timely manner, and if admitted, being in the right bed in the right part of the hospital, leads to better outcomes. It is isn’t simply about putting a patient in a bed; it’s about ensuring they are being cared for in the speciality with the expert knowledge and experience for their condition, ensuring they get the very best focused care. This is something I know our teams are working hard on achieving.

I am extremely proud of the continued work of everyone involved with improving the flow of our patients, and I am aware of the extra hours that many staff put in over the Christmas and New Year period, and still are in some areas. I would like to say thank you to you all for this level of commitment. I’ve said it before but it needs repeating – neither I, nor my Board colleagues, take this commitment for granted.

In September, when we first started to look at implementing a new way of working with regards to the flow of patients through our hospitals, it is fair to say that a number of staff were perhaps a little sceptical. I was determined, like I am with Listening into Action, that it wouldn’t be a fad, but rather ‘how we now do business’, i.e. business as usual. This extra focus at all levels of the organisation, together with improved communication and team work, saw early gains, with continued performance improvement throughout the remainder of 2014 so well done to everyone. This new approach has given us a good platform to build upon and manage the current pressures.

I do believe in many cases that the public and our stakeholders understand the additional pressures we are all facing at the moment, but meeting the standard provides some confidence and indication to our public that we are coping. We remain focused on ensuring that we have adequate processes in place so we can continue to provide safe and reliable services to our patients. We have had to take a number of short term measures to ensure we are able to focus our resources where they are most needed for our patients. Regrettably, this has meant postponing a small number of non-urgent operations. Regardless of how small a number this is, it can have a huge impact on those patients affected. We must remember that they will have had to make many changes in their personal lives to prepare and attend for their procedure, let alone the additional stress and worry postponing an appointment now gives them. I know our staff will not make these decisions lightly, and if not already, will be planning and informing the patients of new dates.

It is a constantly changing picture, and since Monday this week, we have seen an improving position as a result of your continued hard work. We know that we will see more spikes in activity for a variety of reasons over the comings weeks and months, and we are continuing to review performance and take action where needed.


I am sure you will all join me in welcoming our new Medical Director, David Walker, to the Trust. David is currently going through his induction and a period of handover of duties, supported by George Nasmyth. David has put a note about his experience and a welcome message in this week’s edition of Weekly News, and I know he is really keen to be out and about visiting wards and departments and meeting with as many staff members as possible.


I was made aware of the difficulties with heating at Springville House at the RLI recently. I know it has all been fixed now, and whilst parts can and do break, I do apologise for the very cold conditions that staff were left working in. I know a number of staff were able to relocate into the main RLI building, and I would like to thank those staff involved for bearing with it, and also to the estates team for having the problem resolved.

This matter does highlight an issue – the efficiency of some of our older buildings. They just aren’t modern and cost effective to maintain. Part of our future clinically led strategy is to improve parts of our hospitals, particularly at the RLI.  Springville is a good example. Yes it can be refurbished, but without significant investment, it will never offer the levels of warmth and comfort that a modern building could. For those of you with a new build home or a very well insulated home, you will know only too well the difference modern construction can make. This is where we want to be with many of our buildings. We talk a lot about hospitals and wards, but we must remember that we have a highly skilled workforce ‘behind the scenes’ ensuring it all functions 24/7, and they need an equally modern, comfortable and safe environment.



Listening into Action is really getting going now, with staff signing up to take lead roles in making big changes through our “First Ten” pioneering schemes. There’s not long left to get your expression of interest in, so if you want to be a leader in making life better for your colleagues and for the people we serve, make sure you fill in the expression on interest form on our LiA intranet page:http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Pages/Listening-into-Action.aspxDon’t delay – the deadline for submissions is on Tuesday! If you need any additional guidance about the pioneering schemes and how to submit them, please contact our LiA Lead, Liz McDougall on

Next week, the Listening into Action sponsor team will be working through all the things we’ve learned so far to identify the things that matter most to all of you as staff members, and the improvement schemes we will take forward first.

Everything we learned from you at our Big Conversations will be looked at as part of this, and I’m delighted to report that your feedback to the Big Conversations events in December was overwhelmingly positive. This is really encouraging. There is a real sense of an inspired, positive feeling for change from staff, with 96.6% responding positively when asked ‘Do you feel that engaging staff and giving them ‘permission’ to make positive change will help us to improve care for our patients?’ Many attendees were surprised by the common themes throughout Trust departments and sites, and they felt united in wanting to find solutions to these issues.

I know many more people wanted to come to the Big Conversations, and for many reasons couldn’t. Therefore we’ve made a short film showing what happened, including a taster of some of the issues that you and your colleagues raised. The video can be viewed here:

Our Listening into Action journey started in Autumn last year with the LiA Pulse survey, designed to get a benchmark of how everyone was feeling. More than 1,600 staff members – around a third of you – filled it in. Again, the results highlighted that large numbers of staff feel that they are not well-supported enough. Please do take a few minutes to look through the results here:http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Documents/report%20UHMB%20only.pdf.

When we do the same survey again in Autumn 2015, I hope to see big improvements, and on the strength of the enthusiasm and commitment shown by you all so far, I am sure that hope will come true!

dry jan

DRY JANUARY (#DryJanuary for those on twitter!)

It’s the time of year when we often try and give up something whether it’s alcohol, chocolate or smoking.

How many of us actually achieve our targets? This year I’ve signed up to Dry January.

For 31 days, many NHS organisations are encouraging their staff to take a break from drinking, giving them an opportunity to reflect on their long-term relationship with alcohol.

Our occupational health team has created a Health and Wellbeing page on the staff intranet:http://uhmb/cd/ohwe/Pages/Staff-Health-and-Wellbeing.aspx which is packed with useful information.

In addition, throughout January, I am blogging about my experiences on the NHS Employers’ website, including a short weekly video (vlog).

As a final request, if you are taking part in Dry January and showing support by wearing a wrist band, please remember to remove it in ward or clinical areas.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 2 January

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I would like to begin this short Friday message with a huge “thank you” to all those staff who worked over the Christmas and New Year Period. It has been an incredibly busy time and I know that staff have worked tirelessly to make sure our patients received the care and treatment they needed. After 33 years in the NHS – the Christmas Holiday period is a stark reminder for me about how far we still have to go before we are able to provide a robust 24/7 service. Even when we as a hospital were able to cope with the pressure of a surge in demand the weekend after Christmas, our partners struggled to do the same. This meant the system as a whole didn’t work as effectively as it could have. This demonstrates that we operate as part of a wider system and when even the smallest element of that system doesn’t work efficiently and effectively gaps appear preventing us from providing the very best care for patients. We will share the learning and work with internal teams and external partners to improve.

I am sure like me you are thinking about the year ahead. 2015 promises to be both exciting and challenging for the Trust. I will be sharing with you our plans to launch our Strategy “better care together” and making preparations for our CQC re-inspection. Like me you are probably also thinking about your own personal goals. I tend to review my goals on a fairly regular basis but find a New Year adds impetus for New beginnings. Among my personal goals for 2015 are:

Professionally I hope, with the support of the Chairman and Board, the leadership Team, Governors and Partners – to steer the Trust through its next phase of Improvement. This leads me full circle – if we all align and focus our individual and collective efforts we will deliver our goals.

A very Happy and healthy New Year.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Chief Executive, Jackie Daniel, going dry in January

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Jackie Daniel, chief executive, University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust tells us why she’s taking up the Dry January challenge and taking an optimistic look ahead to her plans for 2015. She feels it’s the perfect opportunity to really challenge her approach to booze.

Alcohol occupies a hugely entrenched position in UK culture. We often think nothing of a few drinks after work, a bottle of wine at the weekends, or even the occasional shot of Tequila on a night out. I and many others are asking ourselves why this has become the norm and how it affects us. I am thinking how much better I will feel by taking a break.

The consequences of overindulging on alcohol are well documented. As someone who has spent a lifetime’s career in the NHS – excessive alcohol consumption has a bi-product I am well aware of. I’m interested in the impact of alcohol consumption which sits below the radar. Regular, lower levels of alcohol consumption may not necessarily be seen as excessive but the impact on people’s mental, physical and social wellbeing can be devastating.

Dry January aims to encourage people to witness the benefits of not drinking first hand, to challenge the alcohol drinking culture of the UK and to inspire debate across the general public. It also of course provides an excellent platform to fundraise for a well-deserved charity.dry jan

I am conscious of the conversations had with friends, family and colleagues over the years that they know at times they are drinking too much and more than the recommended guidelines. The impact of knowing this and continuing to do so can be debilitating and undoubtedly has an impact on self-esteem as well as physical wellbeing. I know myself that during the periods I have abstained for periods of time I have generally felt better, had more energy, been more inclined to exercise, slept better and lost weight. What is not to like about that?

So over the course of the next few weeks I am hoping to generate debate and discussion about the benefits of alcohol free living. I hope to challenge the awkwardness there is when attending a social event without booze, generate discussion about the habits which have become so commonplace they are regarded as normal. For example I know people who regularly on crossing the threshold of home reach for a glass of chilled white to reward themselves for getting through the day. I plan to discuss with colleagues and friends the healthy habits we can deploy to help us deal with even the toughest days.

I feel ready and committed to the challenge! I have no doubt there will be tough times during the next month where the easy route would be pouring a relaxingdrink or two. I will be sharing my journey in my own organisation and be encouraging others to join me. I have also agreed to post regular updates on this site.

Here goes…..DRY JANUARY here I come!

Words courtesy of NHS Employers.

Friday Message - 28 November

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This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Different type of message I feel this week, but first a Listening into Action achievement and reminder. Following the great response to the pulse survey, 350 of you have now signed up to join me at one of our Big Conversations next month. Incredible – thank you. I know everyone is very busy, but please do take this opportunity to get on the Listening into Action bus, and come along, there really is a bus too! You can find out dates and times (including the bus arrangements) for each of the Big Conversations by following the link on the home page of the staff intranet. (http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Pages/Listening-into-Action.aspx).


I am sure it is not unique to me, at this time of year I start to look back and think about what it’s been like over the last 12 months. I find it hard to look back over the last year without thinking about what’s gone before it too. Although we were rated as inadequate by the CQC following their inspection in February, I strongly believe that we had already started to make some good improvements across our hospitals.

The year isn’t over, but with the Big Conversations taking place, preparing to meet with Monitor and NHS England to discuss our clinical strategy – better care together, and only 26 days until Christmas, I feel in a reflective mood now!

Being open, my first six months or so at the Trust were intense and some of the most challenging of my career. I was made to feel very welcomed by you all – which is something I know my other executive colleagues have experienced too. But when I joined, not only were we facing a huge list of regulatory actions to sort out, many of which had been quite long standing, I also faced a shrinking executive team and at times, it did feel quite lonely and isolated. Also the timing, whilst trying to build a new executive and clinical leadership team, the NHS commissioning system was being dismantled and reborn in the shape of Clinical Commissioning Groups. In some ways this was a help as the relationships were only just starting to be built and people appointed as I started, meaning we were all getting to grips with a new system together.

We shouldn’t forget the starting point for recovery. When I joined the Trust the interim team had made a good start, but they also faced a backdrop of a previous lack of investment in staffing, not just in the front line, but support services too. Mortality rates were amongst the highest in the country, a huge amount of patients were not recalled for follow up outpatient appointments, patients were experiencing long delays in A&E and a heavily criticised maternity service. Staff can be overlooked at these times, but I know that morale was at rock bottom and many of you were tired and despondent. Put simply, we were trading for a long time on the goodwill of you all whilst we started to make improvements. It isn’t all rosy now, I know that, but the CQC and many others have reported and recognised that where we’ve focused our attention, such as in maternity, A&E and complaints management that services have improved.

We recognised early on that the situation of continual failure couldn’t go on and hence we started the better care together programme with our partners. The aim was, and remains to ensure we have a plan for the future, where services can remain safe, are of a high standard and with the right finances to pay for it. Developing the strategy has taken longer than we would have liked, we have had to start this work whilst also making changes to ensure services were safe, but what has emerged is a strategy which has been clinically led between the hospital clinicians and clinical colleagues from the local health economy.

The plans to remodel health and care services across the Morecambe Bay area through better care together is how we will finally put right many of the issues that have faced this Trust for perhaps a decade or more. It is our ‘blueprint’ for a healthier and brighter future for our local populations and everyone who works in our hospitals.

I wanted to let you know how I felt when I joined the Trust not for any sympathy, but to explain that regardless of the title on the door, I do still know what it feels like when the pressure is on and your team is changing. These are the times when you most need your colleagues and support networks around you to pull together. I’ve said a few times in my messages that I’ve never known the NHS to be so busy, and now isn’t any different. It feels very ‘noisy’ at the moment, with more organisations than I could list with an interest in the performance of the Trust contacting me. I do understand and appreciate everyone’s interest and support – without it we wouldn’t have been able to develop our future plans; however we do need to find a way of coordinating requests for our time and information, there is only so much of it to go around.

The year has been a bit of roller coaster. Lots of clichés I can use, but it does feel like a year of two halves. At the beginning of 2014 we were fairly optimistic, but well aware of many of the challenges ahead. The final member of the new executive team joined us in the shape of Aaron Cummins (Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive) and we were preparing for our CQC inspection. I finally felt like I had the right team around me to start to look at other initiatives, such as our estate plans, workforce and organisational development, research and staff engagement. Staffing levels were starting to increase with around 130 new nurses and around 30 new doctors joining the Trust in the year, and performance wise, we had a relatively successful year with achieving our efficiency targets and meeting our A&E standards. Many of you know that when the CQC report came out I was extremely disappointed – not just for me, but for all of our staff, as well as the impact on the confidence within our local communities. I knew it wouldn’t be easy leading up to the inspection, but I also knew how far we had all come on our journey, but it just wasn’t enough. The words of the CQC Chief Inspector summed it up when I met him, yes we’ve made improvements, but we need to do much more, much quicker and the change needs to be able to be sustained. Out of the news of the inspection came an incredible swell of support which I will not forget. Staff, partner organisations and even members of the public got in touch with the Trust to offer support – I have to register my thanks again for placing your trust in your leaders, I remain proud to call myself your Chief Executive.

When we went into Special Measures, Monitor said that appointing an Improvement Director would be a supportive move, and it has been. Our Improvement Director, Fiona Wise is providing constructive and strong challenge to our plans and I believe we are moving forward with her input, particularly with the creation of an internal CQC team to undertake mock inspections of our services. This will be a key part of our preparations for our re-inspection, which as you know, we expect to take place in the New Year.

It’s easy to forget that we have had many positive moments in this year too and I’ve been thinking about them. We’ve had staff at the Trust win national awards, one of our teams, together with commissioners were also shortlisted for a prestigious national Health Service Journal award for innovation and we experienced a number of significant improvements in our services, such as stroke care. Our stroke units went from being ranked by AQuA ( as 22 out of 22 stroke units in the North West a little over a year ago, to 3rd out of 22 this year. An incredible achievement by everyone involved and they deserved the many rounds of applause from the public, governors and staff at the Annual Members Meeting in the summer.

We are now in the last half of the year and we have submitted our strategy and plan to Monitor and NHS England and in a matter of weeks we will be sitting down with them to talk about the detail and funding.

We are continuing to see increases in front line staffing as part of the additional £3m investment we’ve committed too, only this week, we welcomed another 27 qualified nurses from abroad to the Trust. I am hoping you are feeling and seeing the difference too? This is the result of hard work between our clinical and HR teams to think differently. This week a number of staff are at the Acute & General Medicine Conference in London with a recruitment stand promoting the opportunities to work in our Trust. You can see them on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Explaining our journey of improvement is critical, not just for the public and stakeholders, but for you too. It is vital that you and your colleagues know what is happening across the Trust. We will continue to share information in Weekly News, social media, team briefs etc, but most of the information I receive about improvements and developments comes from within our divisions, therefore I am asking that our divisional leaders share this information with their teams – it isn’t a secret! The Improvement Board this week received a presentation from clinicians within Core Clinical Services, they were explaining progress within medical records, outpatients and laboratory services – I am sure that the team will go back and use every opportunity to present this to their colleagues and I would ask that you all do the same and share ideas across divisions too.


A number of projects are underway to share with staff and partners information regarding our services, particularly those areas that have been highlighted in the past, perhaps as part of the CQC inspection as needing further improvement. I do believe that the most credible way to share this information is for the staff involved to be given the tools and support to do this for themselves. I seem to be sharing with you all a different video each week, I didn’t realise we had so many staff who were not scared of the camera, people often run when they see one! This week I want to share with you two short films that your colleagues have produced to let you know how they are performing and the changes they have made and are still to make.

Medical records:

Student Quality Ambassadors:

Our stroke teams, together with patients have also produced a short film which is in the final editing stage, we aim to share this more widely by the end of next week. Well done to you all, I know it isn’t easy being filmed.

Currently over 1 billion people visit YouTube every month. If you are one of them, then please use the subscribe button for the UHMBT channel and you will automatically be kept up to date when we post new videos. If you want your team to lift the lid on what they do, please contact Camilla in the Communications Team.


Finally, I would like to say well done to everyone! Huge progress has been made over the last few weeks in relation to managing our patient flow, which is moving us towards achieving the 95% standard for A&E. The four-hour target is not just a paper exercise – it is about patients waiting longer than they need, often in discomfort, to receive the treatment they need. This hard work has enabled us to achieve the 95% emergency care performance standard for the last three weeks running, and has made a significant difference for our patients.

This is testament to effective care throughout our hospitals, keeping our patients safe, getting the right care and treatment to them at the first available opportunity, and reducing length of stay so that our patients are home and well earlier, meaning that beds are available as new emergencies come through our doors.

Your fantastic efforts mean we are very close to achieving the monthly standard – an average of more than 95% seen, treated and either admitted or discharged throughout the whole month – for the first time since December 2013, which is wonderful news. Our performance from today through to Sunday is crucial to whether we achieve the critical patient quality standard of seeing, treating and discharging our patients within four hours from A&E, and we have every reason to be confident we will achieve this, especially if all staff continue to help and support the discharge process and minimise avoidable delays.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 5 December

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Yesterday I led the first of our Big Conversations in Lancaster. Today we are in Barrow, before the Listening into Action (LiA) bus moves onto Kendal.

Thank you to everyone who came along and to all of those staff behind the scenes that made it happen, together with Liz McDougall, our LiA Lead. I know there were a number of staff who wanted to come but couldn’t due to pressures on the day in their own departments – I do hope you are able to come along on another date.

Over 60 colleagues came along and shared with me their answers to a number of questions, such as “what gets in the way of us delivering the very best care for our patients and their families”, and “what do we need to fix or stop doing” to make further improvements for our patients.

We will be sharing the themes from these events two weeks after the last Big Conversation on 22 December. Then later in January I will be announcing a number of changes we will want to make based on your feedback, together with sharing the names of the first teams who will be leading further change across our Trust.

The feedback today was excellent, I really thought everyone came with a positive attitude to make the most of their time and it really paid off – as I said yesterday, the “proof of the pudding is in the eating” and it will be down to me and my teams to support you all to make the change needed to demonstrate this isn’t “just another initiative” and that it’s here to stay for the benefit of our patients and staff.

Please don’t miss your chance to get involved and have your say. There are further dates available to book on, please visit the staff intranet for details (http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Pages/Listening-into-Action.aspx), including how to access the free LiA bus to save you the hassle of driving and parking.


A number of times at the Big Conversation yesterday I was told people were not clear what the priorities of the organisations are. As a Trust we have a set of objectives, a vision for the standard of service that we want to provide and a set of values that define how we are all expected to behave and act. As well as this, we have a set of priority areas to deliver over the next two years – such as 7 day working, improving quality standards and ensuring safe staffing levels. As an executive team we’ve brought this all together on our ‘Plan on a Page’. You can find these displayed throughout our hospitals and on our website, where you can also download the detail of the priorities in our Two Year Operational Plan (

I felt you might find it useful to know what my priorities are at the moment:

  1. A successful CQC Inspection
  2. Delivering our key performance targets (such as A&E, 18 week, cost improvement programme)
  3. Delivery of our clinical strategy – Better Care Together
  4. Establishing an Improvement Hub
  5. Visibility of the senior team and improving engagement with our workforce


I felt it would useful to try to recap the work that has taken place with developing a new clinical strategy for the Trust, why we’ve done this and where we have got to.

In early 2012, following the intervention of Monitor and a number of highly critical reports from the Care Quality Commission – the Trust entered a period of recovery and an interim team then took over the executive responsibilities of the organisation. Their initial aim was to concentrate on the safety of services and to develop a plan for the longer term, whilst also recruiting a new Chief Executive.

It was clear early on in the process that we needed to completely review how we provided services in our hospitals, whilst at the same time fixing and improving those areas that could be. Our ambition was and remains, to provide the very best standards of safe, high quality care and to do so within the resources available to us. As a result, in partnership with our two Clinical Commissioning Groups, we launched Better Care Together, a programme of work to provide just that.

Not long after I joined the Trust in August 2012, we started an intensive period of engagement with the public, staff and stakeholders – asking questions far and wide about what people wanted from their local hospitals. What came out of this work was the message that if we wanted to improve the services that the hospital provides, then we also needed to ensure we reviewed services traditionally provided outside of our hospital, such as GP services and how they link to our service. Using this feedback we extended the review to include other ‘out of hospital’ services.

It does feel like we’ve been at this for some time, and we have. But as a result we have been able to develop stronger relationships with our stakeholders and produced a strategy for our future which is built on strong foundations of working together for the same aim: our patients.

On 31 October 2014 we submitted our plans to NHS England and Monitor and on Monday, I will be sitting down with them, together with our Clinical Commissioning Group colleagues to talk through the detail.

It isn’t meant to be a great secret what’s in the strategy, as we’ve already shared our two year plans with you all. We now want to ensure that before we share the longer term plans any wider, that we have been able to discuss them with NHS England and Monitor and make any amendments needed.

I’ve been asked a number of questions by staff regarding finances and how we will pay for our plans. We do not yet have all of the finances we need, our proposal to NHS England and Monitor includes a request for further investment. This investment will be used in a number of areas, such as the radical transformation of parts of our hospitals, such as in Lancaster which frankly are outdated and not suitable for an organisation with ambitions such as ours.

As you know we operate across a wide geographical area, from five sites, and serve in the region of 360,000 people. If you compare this with many other NHS acute hospitals who may provide similar services to a similar sized population, and from maybe only one or two sites, yet will be paid the same for doing so. As a result, we carry many more overheads. Part of our proposal for the future includes the request for our unique position to be recognised and to receive the additional money required to maintain and improve services.

I’ve explained previously, we have not proposed to close any of our three main hospitals and plans include the retention of maternity services across our three sites, as well as A&E at the RLI and FGH.

We have begun a process of sharing the strategy and plans with all of our clinical leaders and senior managers, helping them to start to plan for next year. It is important that when we share the full plans with you all, that your staff side and management colleagues and governors understand the detail to support you all as we move forward.

There is a lot more I could say about the strategy, but I wanted to summarise the position as succinctly as possible, without pages of detail – I am aware how busy you all are.


I recently met with Paul Marshall, Chair of the Medical Staffing Committee – I am pleased to share that we have agreed to hold what I hope is the first of a schedule of meetings with doctors from across our Trust.

Paul and I would be grateful if doctors could please pencil the afternoon of Thursday 29 January 2015 into their diaries. Clearly we can’t take every doctor out of our hospitals for a meeting, but we hope with enough notice and working with your operational colleagues that this will enable you to plan accordingly and maintain safe staffing levels in our hospitals. Holding a series of meetings throughout next year should afford all doctors the opportunity to attend one of these sessions.

We will write to doctors very shortly with a formal invite. The agenda for the first meeting will largely be centred on our executive team sharing and discussing the Trust’s new clinical strategy and two year delivery plans, as well as our approach to the forthcoming CQC Hospital Inspection.


Another week and another short film from your colleagues! This week it’s the turn of the Stroke Care teams.

I hope you will all join me in saying thank you and well done to the team for producing this film. I do think it is much more powerful to hear about our services from our staff who deliver them and in this case, from our patients and families.

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 12 December

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Posted by JackieDaniel


“Lancaster have some fantastic staff providing good care”

Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health

I had the pleasure yesterday of meeting Dr Dan Poulter, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and showing him around parts of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Dr Poulter was in the area visiting a Health Centre in Morecambe and our local MPs made the most of this opportunity to invite him to come and meet our staff, and hear first-hand how we are improving. It is really important that we take every opportunity to tell our story of improvement. We will never pretend that it’s all fixed or that everything is ok, but through being open and honest we can share how far we have come.

As is usual with such visits I tend to take a back seat, I always think it is much more powerful and meaningful for such people to speak to staff unhindered. I absolutely trust our staff and I hope this came over yesterday.

Dr Poulter provided a very positive interview to the BBC based on his experiences whilst visiting; you can listen to the interview at:

If you skip to 1 hour, 8 minutes and 11 seconds in you can hear it in full.

Thank you to everyone involved in arranging the visit, including those staff that were able to show Dr Poulter and David Morris (MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale) around our A&E and maternity units.


Yesterday was a busy day at the RLI, as not only did we have Dr Poulter visiting, but we also had our first internal CQC mock inspection.

These ‘inspections’ really are important and a full team affair. I am sure many of you will have noticed that our new Chair, Pearse Butler signed up and was part of an inspection team!

Well done to everyone involved in this initiative. It’s important for many reasons; the new style hospital inspections are just that, new – we were one of the first trusts to ever go through it. The education sector is many years ahead of us and has established systems and processes in place now for self-assessment and review prior to an inspection, I am sure the NHS will rapidly catch up. We have learned from our first experience and together, we will go even further with preparing for our re-inspection in early 2015. The data that we collected yesterday and again at FGH later in the month will help inform our state of readiness, letting us know which areas we need to concentrate on.

Please do not see the mock inspections in a negative light; this is your colleagues volunteering to work with you to make our services even better for our patients. Yesterday’s internal inspections also included governors and representatives of partner organisations – helping to get a really rich picture of how we are performing against the CQC standards.

I would be pleased to understand your experiences of the mock inspections. If you were involved as an ‘inspector’ or from a staff perspective – how was it for you?

In addition, over the next few days we will be updating our website with a revised section containing an archive of articles about the improvements seen since the Care Quality Commission report was published in the summer. I will share these details with you all next week.


I recently communicated the success in meeting the four-hour Emergency Care Standard during November – and I am extremely grateful to all staff throughout the organisation who helped to make this happen.

The Emergency Care Standard is about the quality of care we offer our patients. Nobody wants to spend any more time in the A&E department than necessary and we need to continue the great efforts everyone has contributed to us achieving the standard throughout the rest of the winter. This is not just about Accident and Emergency but about ensuring we do everything we can to ensure a patient’s journey throughout their stay with us is not held up.

We need to continue our focus on ensuring that patients are treated appropriately and discharged in a timely manner to continue. It’s everybody’s business!

We also reported at the team briefing sessions that we met our all cancer standards throughout July, August and September this year. There are a variety of cancer targets, all designed to ensure that patients with suspected cancer receive swift appointments, tests and treatment. We now have confirmation that we have again achieved all these standards in October, which is very good news and I would like to thank all those involved. The possibility of cancer is a major worry and concern and we should continue our work to ensure that worry is minimised.

The other area of focus needs to be on the Immediate Discharge Summaries (IDS) we provide to the patients’ GP. It is a requirement for patients to be admitted, discharged and transferred on Lorenzo in real time and the IDS to be completed on the system within 24 hours of the patient’s discharge, and ideally as soon as it takes place.


Your involvement with Listening into Action is surpassing my expectations – thank you! We’ve had an incredible week with two further Big Conversations, on Monday the LiA bus arrived in Barrow and on Wednesday we were in Kendal. We only have two more to go, with the 22 December looking to be our busiest yet. There are just a few more spaces available, please don’t miss your chance to get involved with the Big Conversations. I’ve listened to literally hundreds of staff tell me about what gets in their way to delivering great care for our patients and what they want to do about it. A good deal of what I’ve heard could be done really quickly, whilst some other things, such as rebuilding parts of our hospitals might take a little longer – but equally valid.

We are NOT going to dismiss any of the comments that we have heard. They will all be collated and brought together in a number of broad themes for consideration in early January.

What I want now is for those staff to come forward who want to be part of one of our Pioneering Schemes and help to lead the change your colleagues have suggested. Please visit the staff intranet and download the expression of interest form, or contact Liz McDougall, our LiA Lead at to discuss further.

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 14 November

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Jackie is on a well-earned break this week and, as ever, I am pleased to be able to deliver our Friday message.

A great deal of my time at the moment is spent working on our future strategy, better care together and also on our delivery plans for the next two years. Like Jackie, I am really looking forward to sharing the details of the strategy with you all.  Thank you to everyone that has provided feedback over the last few months as part of the wider Communications Group, helping us to better understand how we might share and involve you all in these plans, as Jackie said recently, we would welcome your further views on how you think we can best share this important information.  Please do not hesitate to drop either myself or Jackie a line.

We could just attach our plans to an email and send it to you all, however this is very impersonal and doesn’t do justice to what I believe is an ambitious and exciting plan. Also, this approach forgets the many staff in our hospitals that don’t have time to regularly access a computer. The plans have been constructed with a considerable amount of input from clinical and support colleagues right across our hospitals, however with around 5000 staff and about 900 new staff joining us each year, we are mindful that we need to sit down and discuss the plans with you all, regardless of shift pattern or site – which will be a large undertaking in itself.

I will arrange to write a short piece for Weekly News over the coming weeks on a recent visit I was involved with to Spain, along with other colleagues as part of better care together to look at a healthcare organisation. We learned how over a decade they’ve successfully integrated local health and care services and were able to discuss how they did this, along with the challenges they faced.

‘Hot off the press’ is a link to an interview I did this morning with BBC Radio Cumbria. Many staff from our Trust have taken part in interviews this week as part of a feature on healthcare in Cumbria. You can hear my interview:, at about 33:50.

The interview gave me the opportunity to explain about our ‘structural deficit’ that we’ve explained to you all before. Essentially, to deliver services as we do, to the standards required across our sites means that we incur additional costs, no matter how efficient we become, we will always have these underlying expenses.  I discussed as part of our interview the bid we have submitted asking for our unique positon to be recognised and the payments we receive for treating patients adjusted accordingly.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this week’s radio interview, as well as to those that arranged it and also to BBC Radio Cumbria for the opportunity.


Part of changing how we work is our adoption of Listening into Action (LiA).  As you know Jackie has launched her Big Conversations, with the first one kicking off in a matter of weeks. The Big Conversations are just that, an opportunity for staff to come together and talk about what gets in the way of getting the job done, what you would want to see improved and why.

In the last few weeks we’ve once again experienced the commitment of our workforce to get involved with LiA and have a say through our first ever LiA Pulse Survey. 1,645 of you took two minutes out of your day to complete the survey, that really is incredible, thank you!  That’s around a third of our workforce making their voice count. I’m not aware that we’ve have had such a good response to a survey request before.  The results are being collated and will soon be shared with you all.  We will be using the survey to set our starting point, allowing us to ask you again next year what it’s like to work in our hospitals and measure how far we have come.

We now want you to give up a little bit more of your time and come along to one of the Big Conversations.  Spaces are filling up fast and I want to ask you all to ensure you try your utmost to get involved at this stage in our LiA journey and book yourself a place. Based on past feedback from clinicians we deliberately arranged for at least six weeks notice for these events and we are hoping this is reflected in attendance.

You can access all of the dates, times and locations from the intranet:http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Pages/Listening-into-Action.aspx.  We are also arranging transport from the local hospital of each venue to make it easier for travel and parking.

It is vitally important that staff at all levels and in all roles take part in these conversations – and you all have Jackie’s experess permission to do so. Make sure the LiA Big Conversations are on your next team meeting agenda, so that as many as possible of you are able to attend a session, and those who can’t make it have their views represented. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to have your say – take a look at the details of each session on the intranet, and make sure you e-mail with your preferred dates before all places are taken!

If you are new to all things LiA, there are several great online resources to check out:

The LiA blog features other hospitals from around England who’ve embraced LiA and seen measurable improvements for their patients.  Please take a look if you have the time Jackie Daniel, our Chief Executive and our LiA Sponsors have also produced a number of short films introducing themselves:


Well, it’s that time of year again and the National NHS Staff Surveys were sent out some weeks ago. We currently have a response rate of 35% with only 5 weeks left to go until the survey closes. Your survey is completely confidential and your responses go directly back to our provider Quality Health – it is not possible for anybody at the Trust to know what your answers are. We are currently higher than the national average for response rates at this point and we really hope that if you have received a survey you take the time to tell us your views.

I know, as I receive the same requests as you that it can feel like survey overload at times. However the annual survey is a really important way of us receiving honest feedback from you in a way that allows us to really focus on the areas we need to improve upon, but also those areas where the actions we are all taking are beginning to make a difference.

An example of how we have taken your views and put them into practise is to start to embed two way communications at all levels. We did this by speaking to staff through face-to-face engagement. The number of executive/senior divisional management face-to-face briefings with staff has vastly increased from two years ago when they rarely happened. Such briefings are now taking place monthly for managers. We’ve also drastically improved the visibility of the executive team, there is only seven of us, and whilst we can’t be everywhere at once, we continue each week to be out and about on our wards and in departments on a regular basis and have recently started to trail working at weekends.


Some of you may have noticed my top lip blog on twitter……I haven’t gone mad, nor have I started to shun my normally fastidious personal hygiene routine! I am, of course, cultivating my charming lip coverage in support of Movember – a charitable “movement” in support in a number of men’s health related conditions.

If you want to find out more then go to or follow me on twitter @aaroncumminsNHS using the hashtag #Movember2014 to follow my Top Lip diary and contribute if you can. Every little helps!


Aaron Cummins
Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 7 November

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


I started last week’s message with thanking John Hutton for stepping up to the plate at a difficult time for the Trust as our Interim Chair. I am pleased this week to welcome Pearse Butler to the Trust.  A number of staff have already met Pearse this week and I am quite sure you will enjoy working with him. Pearse isn’t letting the grass grow under him and he has already started the important work of arranging to meet governors, staff and stakeholders to discuss a number of issues and next steps for the organisation. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Pearse.


Over the last week or so, I’ve been taking stock on our progress since our CQC Inspection in February this year, and the work that has been going on since. I am also very conscious of the fact that it is easy to lose sight of the changes that were made before February, many of which were recognised by the CQC, such as the improvements in maternity services, A&E, complaints management, and end of life care.

It is no wonder when I go through the list of work that has been undertaken that staff feel tired on occasions, but I wonder if many of you get the chance to stand back and reflect on it – especially your achievements? I feel it is probably time to refresh how I deliver my Friday message and what I am thinking of doing is using my message at the end of every month to share a round up with you on progress as part of our improvement work – would this work for you? I don’t want it to become a general newsletter email; rather my thoughts were to provide everyone working in our hospitals with an electronic and printed update on progress. Please drop me a line with your thoughts; I would be very interested to hear them.

As many of you will know, last year we saw an additional 130 nurses join the Trust, and this hasn’t stopped. We remain committed to ensuring safe staffing levels across our hospitals and have recently approved the first stage of an additional £3m investment into front line staffing. Just this year alone, we have welcomed around 79 nurses and midwives to the Trust as well as 36 doctors.

This is on top of other positive developments, including:

  • establishing the Improvement Board to help give additional oversight of our CQC Improvement Plan
  • starting our Listening into Action journey to help staff make the change they want to make
  • submitting our revised strategy to Monitor and NHS England
  • starting to establish an in-house expert team of “CQC hospital inspectors” and carrying out our RAISE visits [watch the video here -]  – both helping us all to assess where we are against the CQC and other professional standards
  • introducing values based corporate induction
  • developing a Quality Improvement Plan
  • introducing an electronic performance dashboard
  • sharing the Trust’s plans with all staff via ‘Plan on a Page’ []
  • the design and implementation of our new ward boards

Thank you to everyone that has worked so hard over the last few months in putting together our revised five year strategy – better care together. I know it was an extremely intense time for all concerned, with staff working evenings and weekends to bring it together. Our plans have now been submitted and we will be working with Monitor and NHS England over the coming weeks on any areas that require further clarification. We are now working with our partners as to the best way to share these plans and discuss them with you, and I look forward to sharing the detail with you all shortly.

I know that it can get confusing with the different plans, which is why earlier in the year we created our ‘Plan on the Page’ and these have been extensively displayed throughout our hospitals. As well as having a five year strategy, we also have a shorter two year operational plan.  The ‘Plan on the Page’ brings together elements of this operational plan, together with our objectives, values and key areas of priority.  As well finding the ‘Plan on a Page’ near most wards, you can also access a copy of the full plan from our website at


As you know, we have all been working hard to improve performance in our A&E departments, and I’m pleased to report that on four days last week, RLI’s A&E team managed to exceed the 95% standard by seeing, treating, discharging or admitting around 98% of patients within four hours - with 100% compliance on Thursday 30 October. The team also achieved the standard for three weeks in October for the first time this year. This achievement was despite a significant number of patients who were still in a hospital bed when they didn’t need to be. These discharge challenges were also experienced at FGH.

The A&E at FGH has been extremely busy in the last month with the number of patients attending ED increasing by 10%, the number of ambulances increasing by 20% and acute medical admissions increasing by 18%.

I would like to thank staff for their huge efforts to reduce patient delays, both at the front door in our A&Es, and in ensuring that patients do not stay in hospital longer than they need to. Your hard work really is making a difference so well done and keep it up!

We’ve now recruited ward based Discharge Navigators to plan and drive appropriate patient discharge with patients, health professionals and families. All will be in post by 18 November. We have also received confirmation of funding for winter pressures which will allow us to use contingency beds at WGH and in the community should we need them as we get busier in the coming winter months.

It is clear that we cannot fix this problem alone and I’m pleased to say that Executive level discussions with partner organisations have resulted in a series of actions to help patients to be care for in the right place, including an agreement with Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust for rights for FGH physicians to directly admit patients to the Abbey View intermediate care unit.

We have made improvements but we all know that the problem isn’t fixed and there is still more to be done. It is clear that reducing delays is everybody’s business, not just the staff based on our wards and in our A&Es, so we all need to continue to work together and support our teams on the front line.


Did you know that nearly 700,000 patients across the country are affected by pressure ulcers each year - 186,617 of which develop a new pressure ulcer in an acute setting? When you think that 90% of pressure ulcers are avoidable and treating them costs the NHS more that £3.8 million every day, you can see why it is an area of focus for our clinical teams.

Since April this year, we have reported 588 community acquired pressure ulcers and 198 hospital acquired pressure ulcers. One of the key performance indicators of the safety thermometer Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) target is to reduce our overall hospital acquired avoidable pressure ulcers by 10% and have zero tolerance of avoidable pressure ulcers at grade 3 and above. With that in mind, do you know what your contribution is to reducing harm within our hospitals?

World Stop the Pressure day is on 20 November, and we are celebrating the event by holding a ‘harm free care week’ from 17 - 21 November. This will not only focus on pressure ulcers but also the prevention of falls and reductions in cardiac arrests.

Throughout the week, there will be stands in the dining rooms at both the RLI and FGH, and in the main entrance at WGH. Please go along if you can to find out more about the assessment, prevention and treatment of common harms. If you want to be involved in the events, contact Carol Park or Kim Wilson who I know will be happy for the support.


I would like to end this week’s message with congratulations to Juliet Walters, our Chief Operating Officer (COO). Juliet will be waving goodbye to the Trust early in the New Year to take up a new job as COO at another Trust. Juliet joined the Trust at an extremely important time, initially as an Interim COO before successfully applying to join us permanently. In this time, we have seen many improvements under her operational leadership, and I wish her every success in the future and hopefully an improved work-life balance for her with a job closer to home.

As I announced last week, we are looking to strengthen our site based operations with the appointment of a second Deputy Chief Operating Officer to work alongside, and in partnership, with John Bannister. I am looking to employ an Interim COO whilst we recruit for Juliet’s replacement which will also allow for a handover between post holders.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

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Friday Message - 31 October

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Posted by corinnekemp


I would like to start my message this week by saying thank you to John Hutton, our Interim Chair. Many of you will have met John, especially if you work in maternity services where he has taken a keen and active interest in their development. John took up the post of Interim Chair following the retirement of our previous Chair, and it is fair to say it has remained an extremely busy and challenging summer whilst he has been in post. I would like to thank John for the support and leadership he has provided and for stepping up to the plate at a crucial time for the Trust.

John will be with us for a little while longer, however, this week he chaired the Board meeting for the last time as he hands over the mantle to Pearse Butler. I trust you will all join me in thanking John for his work as Interim Chair, and in wishing him well for the future. Pearse was at the Board meeting this week, but will be ‘in the office’ officially next week, and over the coming weeks and months, I know he will be out and about meeting many of you. You will be pleased to know that Pearse didn’t escape Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse, and like the rest of the Board, he received his flu jab on Wednesday.

Pearse Butler Flu Jab 3.JPG


I believe it is very important that we operate as a network, working smarter across sites to deliver services as efficiently as possible for our patients. Our strength comes from working together and sharing best practice across sites. On a number of occasions, the ‘culture’ of our hospitals has been questioned and whether or not we are as integrated as we could be. Whilst I don’t believe we are, it is much improved. We can’t ignore that our local populations are different across our patch, with differing needs, particularly around access to services. It is important to our communities that they can identify with their local hospital; after all, we are also one of the largest employers in Kendal, Barrow and Lancaster and make a major contribution to the local economy. In my time here, staff have commented to me that ‘their hospital’ doesn’t take priority when planning or that hospital ‘x’ gets all the money. To help address this balance we have put in place an Associate Medical Director and Deputy Chief Nurse at each of our two largest sites. I am pleased to announce that we are now recruiting for a Deputy Chief Operating Officer. This will mean we will have one Deputy based at each of the RLI and FGH sites. This addition will see a leadership team, dedicated at RLI and FGH, consisting of a lead doctor, nurse and manager with the responsibility for the quality and safety of services at each site. 

This isn’t about just employing another manager or cutting across the work of the divisions. It will mean that where the majority of our activity takes place, we will have a team responsible for local, on-site decision making. WGH and our other sites are not forgotten about either - responsibility for activity at these other sites is also theirs.

I was pleased to be invited to attend the first site based leads meeting at the RLI this week. Our site based leadership teams are now establishing local forums each month, where they can discuss issues regarding their site (as well as Trust wide) and take action where needed. I think this is a great start – my ambition for these meetings is that they have a safety and improvement focus to them. I found the discussion really interesting and what I took away in my short time on Wednesday night is that we need to remember what ‘support’ in support services mean. I’ve been pleased how our support services have risen to many challenges. We’ve seen HR automate processes, purchasing make significant contributions to our cost improvement pressures, IT develop stronger information systems, and the estates and facilities team implement the first phase of Projects Kendal, Barrow and Lancaster. But, in a number of cases, we’ve put obstacles in the way of our clinicians without consulting with them first – which in the commercial world, treating your customer in this way is a sure fire way of going out of business! A number of staff told me that they’ve repeatedly asked for certain things to happen but are not listened to, yet when they escalate the matter to a director, the change happens. Yes, I was pleased that my executive colleagues are being responsive, but disappointed at the same time. The staff I listened to were all senior clinical leaders and have the authority to make changes for the benefit of patients and staff. Whilst I am sure each site doesn’t want the Chief Executive at each meeting, I am happy to support them, as is the rest of the executive team whenever required. I am looking forward to seeing the progress and outcome of these meetings, and will be watching with interest.


I’ve provided a number of updates in recent weeks regarding the setting up, and progress, of the daily patient flow meetings. Whilst we have the regular involvement of North West Ambulance Service, I am disappointed that we haven’t been able to actively engage some of our other partners in the process. The responsibility for the safe and effective discharge of our patients is much wider than just our Trust. This responsibility is also now being recognised by the Care Quality Commission, with inspections to start next year of other services to assess how integrated they are into the care and treatment of patients, for example out of hours GP provision and the NHS 111 service.  This new way of working that we have introduced, with a regular, focused review of patients throughout the day is making some progress but we need the full involvement of our partners for it to really deliver. To assist, I have asked for the leaders of local health and care systems to come together and discuss this. I know the safety of patients is high on all of their agendas, and look forward to them working more closely with the Trust with our daily reviews.


The clock continues to countdown to the Trust being re-inspected in the New Year by the Care Quality Commission. Plans are still being finalised for a new team, led by our Medical Director and Executive Chief Nurse, to be assembled, largely consisted of staff from across our hospitals to ‘self-assess’ our performance. These teams will be given the training and support to undertake ‘mock’ assessments of all of our hospitals against the CQC standards of quality and safety.  These plans will be finalised over the next two weeks, and we are receiving advice and support from our new Improvement Director as to how these might operate. As they come together, I will arrange for them to be shared with you all, as at some point, you are likely to be involved.


Many of you will be familiar with the recent process of assessing the performance of our wards and experience of our patients via the RAIDS programme. We have received a lot of feedback on the name and we have listened. They are now called RAISE: Review and Inspection of Standards of Excellence.

Many of your clinical colleagues and our governors have created a short film to share with you about their work with RAISE. I am delighted that they have done this. I’ve said it many times before, I know it isn’t easy getting in front of the camera but it is a great medium to getting over the work and improvements of our staff – well done, and thank you to everyone involved. This isn’t a scripted film, it is all their own words, just like our recent Listening into Action Sponsor Group films.

Please take a few minutes to watch the film, which is now available on the Trust’s YouTube channel at the following link:



You didn’t think I was going to sign off this week without mentioned Listening into Action did you? Around 1,500 staff have now completed our completely anonymous Listening into Action Pulse Survey – this is a great achievement so thank you. Your feedback will really help me get a clearer picture of what it feels like to work at the Trust at the moment. If you are reading this message today (Friday 31 October), this is your last chance to complete it.

If you haven’t yet done so, I would be grateful if you could take two minutes to do complete it. You can access the survey from the LiA link on the home page of the staff intranet, or by clicking the following link:

The Big Conversations I am holding are filling up well. Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to have your say. We’ve never held such events at the Trust, and they are not sessions where there will be a top table with executives and managers. This will be me, with you, our workforce. I will be listening to, and discussing, what frustrates and gets in your way, as well as talking about areas for change and the next stage of LiA.

I do want my executive colleagues to attend but it will be to help facilitate the events and listen, not to direct or influence your conversations.

You can find full details about how to book a place on one of the six Big Conversations being held in December by following the LiA link on the home page of the staff intranet.

Next week I will be sending all staff an LiA update and details for you to share with colleagues on the Big Conversations.

I am still receiving comments from our Sponsor Group and staff governors that staff who don’t have regular access to a PC are not having the information shared with them. If you work with staff who fall into this group, especially if you are a manager or supervisor, please print the details and share it with them. It is our responsibility to assist our colleagues in finding out this information. Thank you in advance for your support with this.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 24 October

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Posted by woodfordp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


Welcome to my Friday Message! I knew whatever I said this week was going to be overshadowed by the announcement yesterday by NHS England of their Five Year Forward View.

The Five Year Forward View is just that, a forward look at a high level, without all of the detail, but with a summary of why, how and when the NHS should change. It is visionary, and for those of us that have been in the health service for any length of time will probably smile at the changes proposed, particularly the ‘breaking down of barriers’ between family doctors, hospitals, mental health, community care and social care. It really doesn’t make sense if you want to do the best you can, with the resources available, to operate all of these vital, health and care services independently to each other.

You can access a copy of the Forward View from the link below. I would encourage you to read it, or if you don’t have time, at least the executive summary.

A lot of hard work, often in the evening and at weekends (and this continues) has been put into creating our clinical strategy. The Forward View by NHS England is good encouragement to us all that we are on the right track, particularly how we are looking at working with other hospitals further afield to share expertise; with clinics being delivered in GP practices with hospital staff and how as organisations across primary, acute and community care we can become more integrated.

The Forward View clearly sets out the challenges that have faced the NHS through the financial challenges of the last five years and at the same time the improvements that have been made such as in cancer and cardiac outcomes; waits are shorter and patient satisfaction is much higher.  But it highlights that at the same time, quality of care can be variable, preventable illness is widespread and health inequalities deep-rooted.

It also recognises that in order to deliver the scale of the change needed, and to enable some critical decisions to be made, for example on investments, on various public health measures, and on local service changes – that it will need explicit support from the next government.

There is a health warning in the Forward View – the future health of the country’s children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health. The Forward View is very strong and states that previous warnings have not been heeded. The NHS therefore proposes that it will now back hard-hitting national action on obesity, smoking, alcohol and other major health risks. It will help develop and support new workplace incentives to promote employee health and cut sickness-related unemployment.

The case is also made that one size in England doesn’t fit all. The aim is for a small number of radical new care delivery options, which are given the resources and support to implement them where that makes sense. Such as:

  • Seeing hospital specialists, GPs, nurses, community health and perhaps mental health and social care come together to create integrated out-of-hospital care, a model they have termed theMultispecialty Community Provider. It makes the point that whilst these are emerging in different parts of the country, generally they do not go this far, or take delegated control of the NHS budget.
  • The creation of an integrated hospital and primary care provider – Primary and Acute Care Systems – combining for the first time general practice and hospital services, similar to the Accountable Care Organisations now developing in other countries too.
  • There are also plans to redesign and integrate services between A&E departments, GP out-of-hours services, urgent care centres, NHS 111 and ambulance services.
  • Other ways of making smaller hospitals remain viable will be considered, such as forming partnerships with other hospitals further afield, and specialist hospitals bringing their services to smaller hospitals around the country.
  • Midwives will have new options to take charge of the maternity services they offer.

Such change will require the whole of the NHS leadership to act together and to provide flexibility in the way payment rules, regulatory requirements and other mechanisms are applied. There is also a vision to improve the NHS’ ability to undertake research and apply innovation – including designing from scratch, completely new NHS services where needed.

In order to provide the level and quality of services required, it is estimated that there is a mismatch between resources and patient needs of nearly £30 billion a year by 2020/21. Therefore focus and action will be required on three fronts: demand, efficiency and funding.



One week to go and I am calling on all staff who have not yet taken the opportunity to complete the LiA Pulse Survey to do so.  We had around 1000 staff just after week one, please help to make it 2000!

You can access the survey from the LiA link on the home page of the staff intranet or by clicking on this link, it only takes two minutes to complete:

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has completed the survey and provide an update via a short film I recorded this week:

As part of Listening into Action we have a group of Trust staff, led by Liz McDougall our LiA Lead who we call our Sponsor Group. They have volunteered to support LiA and champion it throughout the Trust. The group may change throughout the year, but the initial team wanted to introduce themselves and I am pleased that they have put together a film clip for you all. As you will see, they represent a wide range of occupations – there are few more on the list and we will catch them on camera soon!

People have contacted me asking how can staff that don’t have access to a computer complete the survey? We have had a group of staff touring our hospitals with iPads and many of you have already taken the opportunity to use them and complete the survey, look out for them over the next week – the survey is only open until Friday 31 October.  There is another way, I need all managers, team leaders/ supervisors to assist – over the coming week, help your colleagues to complete the survey by giving them the time, it only takes two minutes – let them use your computer! Please remember, it is our job as leaders to support staff.


I have shared details earlier in the week with you all on the Big Conversations; your personal invite is here:


I have arranged for the Big Conversations to take place in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster and we will be provided free transport from the local hospital to each of the venues.

04 December 2014 10am – 12 noon Lancaster – Lancaster House Hotel
05 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Barrow – Forum 28
08 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Barrow – Abbey House Hotel
10 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Kendal – Junction 36 Auction Mart
16 December 2014 4pm – 6pm Kendal – Castle Green Hotel
22 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Lancaster – Lancaster House Hotel

Places are limited and on a first come, first served basis – please don’t miss your chance!

Managers – can you please print off the details of the Big Conversations for your staff and share it with them, especially those that don’t have regular access to a PC.

For my Big Conversations to be successful, we really need a good cross section of staff to attend them, of all grades and occupations.  I have also been asked this week about staff being allowed the time to attend these events, all staff, subject to maintaining safe staffing levels, have my express permission to attend these events and I know your managers will be looking to support as many of you to come along as possible.

We’ve allowed space for around 600 staff to attend the Big Conversations therefore spaces are limited, on a first come, first served basis – please don’t miss out on this unique opportunity in the Trust to have your say.

To request a place on one of the Big Conversations, please email , stating which of the Big Conversation sessions you can attend. It would be great if you could indicate more than one possible date – if you can then pencil your chosen dates and times in your diary, a member of the team will be in contact shortly to confirm your attendance.


There was an incredible health news story this week, I am sure you will have heard about it and watched it on the TV. The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

The following paragraph from the BBC really does say how incredible an achievement this is:

“A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.”

If you have the time, please check it out:

I wanted to share this with you as it really does resonate with some of the ambition in the Five Year Forward View from NHS England – especially in its vision for innovation and for England to become the ‘test bed’ for world-wide innovators.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive



Friday Message - 17 October

comments (0)
Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.




In just one week, nearly 800 staff have taken the opportunity to have their say by completing our first ever Listening into Action (LiA) Pulse Survey; this is fantastic - thank you!

To make the results even more meaningful, I need many more of you to complete the survey, which is only open until Friday 31 October.  I know many of our staff don’t have access to a PC – therefore a number of staff from all different parts of the Trust have been armed with iPads and are out and about around our hospitals helping to make it as easy as possible to complete!

You can access the survey via the link from the LiA link on the home page of the staff intranet or by clicking on this link:

The survey only has 15 questions and will take about two minutes to complete. This is an important stage in our new way of working as it gives me a starting point for measuring our improvement over the next year.  Please take this opportunity to have your say, it really can help make a difference.


I am pleased to announce the dates for the “Big Conversations” that I intend to hold with our staff.  Whilst I regularly speak with staff whilst visiting our wards and departments, I want to hear from as many of you as possible before we agree on the initial areas we want to improve for our patients through LiA. It is essential I know your views on a number of areas, not least ‘what gets in the way’ to delivering the very best care for our patients and what changes you think would make the biggest impact.

A large number of staff have already written to me to say they want to be included in LiA and I will be asking that they have a space reserved at one of the Big Conversations.

I am aware of the notice period that many clinical staff need to attend such events; therefore I wanted to give at least six weeks’ notice.

Spaces are limited, on a first come, first served basis – please don’t miss out on this unique opportunity in the Trust to have your say.


04 December 2014 10am – 12 noon Lancaster – Lancaster House Hotel
08 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Barrow – Abbey House Hotel
10 December 2014 2pm – 4pm Kendal – Junction 36 Auction Mart
16 December 2014 4pm – 6pm Kendal – Castle Green Hotel


Two further dates will follow for Barrow and Lancaster.

For my Big Conversations to be successful, we really need a good cross section of staff to attend them, of all grades and occupations.  All staff, subject to maintaining safe staffing levels, have my express permission to attend these events and I know your managers will be looking to support as many of you to come along as possible.

To request a place on one of the Big Conversations, please email , stating which of the Big Conversation sessions you can attend. It would be great if you could indicate more than one possible date – if you can then pencil your chosen dates and times in your diary, a member of the team will be in contact shortly to confirm your attendance.

Please don’t leave it too late to book your place!


The National Cancer Patient Experience Service results are out now, and 92% of our patients have rated their care as “very good” or “excellent”.

This puts our Trust on a par with the specialist cancer centre Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for patient-reported experience, and is a higher score than our peers in the North West.

This is the fourth year of the survey, with all Trusts providing adult cancer care taking part.

There is more to do and our scores have shown that we need to make some changes to our letters and improve access to cancer nurse specialists. But the latest survey demonstrates our continuing improvement, with higher scores than last year in a number of areas.

Delivering such results takes a real team effort, from many different areas of the Trust and partners – I am sure all staff, governors and volunteers will join me in congratulating everyone involved in delivering such high standards of care for our patients, well done to you all.

And finally…

I realise LiA has dominated my briefings lately; however when I set out to create the Friday Message I wanted to share what was on my mind. There are many different things taking up my time at the moment, but none more important than understanding and improving the experience of our staff and patients.  Please do take the time to complete the Pulse Survey if you haven’t already and to register your interest for my Big Conversations.

I met yesterday with Pearse Butler our soon-to-be Chair.  Pearse will be joining the Trust at the beginning of November and I know he is very much looking forward to working with you all as we continue on our journey of improvement.

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive





  1. Important new guidance on CPR decision-making: http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Documents/Resus%20Guide%20-%20BK%20and%20JC%20DNACPR.PDF


  1. Next week is Clinical Audit Awareness Week – Come along to our awareness sessions on Wednesday 22 October at 12 noon at both the RLI and FGH restaurants and find out more about how strong clinical audit keeps our patients safe: http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Documents/HQIP-CAAW-Poster-2014.pdf


  1. Happy 30th birthday to Furness General Hospital! We had a great party there on Wednesday, and week of great coverage across social media and in the North West Evening Mail. Well done to everyone involved! View some of the North West Evening Mail coverage here: http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/Documents/NWEM%2030th%20Birthday%20FGH.JPG


  1. Manager Briefing dates – 2014


Date Time Location
7th November 2014 10-11am Lecture Theatre, FGH
6th November 2014 10-11am Room 5, RLI
6th November 2014 15-16pm Boardrooms, WGH



  1. Staff Briefing dates – 2014


Date Time Location
24th October 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, FGH
4th November 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, RLI
7th November 2014 12-1pm Boardrooms, WGH

Friday Message - 10 October

comments (0)
Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.



Over the last couple of weeks I’ve shared with you that as part of our LiA Journey we would be asking the entire workforce what it feels like to work here.

I am really keen to find out what you think so that we can prioritise the things that matter to you and make a real difference to the services we provide for our patients. LiA builds on the work we have already undertaken in recent years to improve the quality of our services and to make the Trust a great place to work.

To help me set the starting point for our new way of working with LiA, I would be grateful if you would complete a short survey. By completing the survey we will be able to come back to it next year and repeat the exercise and measure the change.

The Pulse Check Survey is a quick, 15 question survey which will only take around a minute to complete and is anonymous – so you can tell us what it’s really like around here.

In November / December I will be hosting a series of Chief Executive led ‘Big Conversations’ and at these events I will present the results of the survey. I will also publish them on the LiA intranet pages, which will soon be available for you to keep up to date with all we are doing around LiA.

We want as many staff as possible, from right across the Trust to attend the ‘Big Conversations’. I am very mindful of shift patterns and we will be looking to hold these conversations at, or close to each of our three main sites, and will have spaces for around 500-600 staff members.  I will be sending out invitations shortly and I would be very pleased if you were able to find the time to attend, so we can start to make further changes together.

What do you have to do now to help us start our LiA Journey…

Before I hold the ‘Big Conversations’, I would be pleased if you can complete the survey. The survey is accessible by clicking on the link below:

The survey is open until Friday 31 October.  Please take the time to have your say, the more people who respond, the more insight I will have to drive the required actions and changes we will make together.

Not all of our staff have access to a PC, therefore, as this is a short survey, please encourage your colleagues and support them with access. Perhaps at your next team meeting ask that the survey is on the agenda and as part of it, take the minute to complete it.

Our LiA Lead, Liz McDougall is looking at other ways to support staff complete the survey and will be in touch.

Thank you in advance for your support with this important work, you can watch my LiA message on our website:



Thank you to everyone that has been involved in the new patient flow meetings this week. These meetings are being held across our hospitals four times each day, with input from a wide range of clinical and support staff, including a member of the executive team.

As I recently explained, it is critical that we put all of our efforts into ensuring our patients move through our hospitals in a safe and effective way and that the appropriate support is provided by the Trust and its partners to ensure this happens.  This is the responsibility of everyone involved with our hospitals.

Attendance at the meetings has been positive, including the support of North West Ambulance Service.

The meetings will continue seven days a week and the senior level of support will continue now as business as usual. There has been a lot of constructive and supportive challenge at the meetings to ensure that any delays or bottlenecks in the patient’s journey are unblocked and there has been great support from staff.

A number of issues have been identified through this process including delays in some senior reviews and also around diagnostics. As you would hope, response from staff has been good and we’ve seen issues addressed promptly for our patients.

There remains some significant challenges in discharging complex patients – which is actively managed by Pauline Turner and the teams and where appropriate, escalated to executives for discussion with our health economy partners.

As well as this focused approach, on Friday 17 October Vincent Connolly from the NHS Emergency Care Intensive Support Team will be visiting the Trust initially at RLI before arranging to visit FGH to look at the medical management of our patients and offer support and advice on clinical pathways. Vincent has been working with the Trust for a little while to assist us in this area and I look forward to welcoming Vincent back to the Trust.



Earlier this year we announced that we would be “growing our own” nursing and care staff with a brand new apprenticeship scheme. I am delighted to say that the first job advertisement is out now, and we are looking to recruit a total of 50 new Clinical Healthcare Support Apprentices to start work in February, with 25 each at Furness General Hospital and Lancaster Royal Infirmary. The apprenticeship programme is designed to ensure values-based recruitment and practical training, and develops and replaces the successful Nursing Cadet scheme. We are working closely with Furness College, Lancaster and Morecambe College and the University of Cumbria to deliver it.

We have already had lots of interest, and the closing date is 21 October. If you, or anyone you know, would like the opportunity to gain paid, recognised diploma-level qualifications, followed by a guaranteed job or access to degree-level  registered nurse training, please take a look at our advert on NHS Jobs:


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive




  1. Manager Briefing dates – 2014


Date Time Location
7th November 2014 10-11am Lecture Theatre, FGH
6th November 2014 10-11am Room 5, RLI
6th November 2014 15-16pm Boardrooms, WGH


  1. Staff Briefing dates – 2014


Date Time Location
24th October 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, FGH
4th November 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, RLI
7th November 2014 12-1pm Boardrooms, WGH

Friday Message - 3 October

comments (0)
Posted by corinnekemp

Our Improvement Board met together for the first time this week, together with a wide range of external partners.

The purpose of this Board is to provide additional insight and scrutiny of our CQC Improvement Plan. As you know, the action plan can be broadly split into the following six areas that we must continue to improve:

  • Improving our staffing levels;
  • Engaging and communicating more effectively with frontline staff;
  • Better performance information for improvement;
  • Improving our nurse record keeping;
  • Continuing to improve incident reporting and the learning we gain from incidents and;
  • Improving the availability of case notes and test results in our Outpatient Departments.

A number of staff have been involved this week in filming as we start to compile examples of the improvements taking place.  Thank you for your time with this, it is never easy or quick, I know as I was filmed again yesterday!  But it will make a difference to help share the progress being made in a more accessible way. You can keep up to date with the action plan via our website and I would encourage you to do so:

What’s really important to me and I am sure all of you, is that the Improvement Board doesn’t become a talking shop, but a place where the different organisations can come together and using their collective experience and knowledge, drill down into a number of key areas and unpick what these improvements mean. A challenge with such action plans is that we say we will do ‘x’ by ‘x’ and then mark it as complete when the date comes around, but really it is just the beginning. The true acid test is in 6 months, or a years’ time when we audit to see if the changes are still being carried out as we said – it is only then that we can really start to say that part of the journey is complete for each action. Therefore we shouldn’t take comfort in ticking a box as complete, but see it as the start of the journey.  Which brings me onto a subject that has concerned me for some time, the safe flow of patients through our hospitals. We have completed a good number of action plans for this area, yet we are still failing in a number of areas.


Hospitals are often judged by the performance of their emergency departments, and while this isn’t always accurate, the ED does often act like a barometer of performance across the rest of the organisation.  When patients are not moving through the hospital and being discharged in an efficient way, then it creates a jam, usually felt at the front door of our hospitals.  But it doesn’t just impact on our services or the patients in our immediate care, it also impacts on the ambulance service, tying up their valuable resources and potentially reducing their ability to respond to emergency calls as quickly as they need.

I recently wrote to you all about our continued investment into front line services, by next summer I estimate that we will have spent around £8m in additional staffing – something which has and continues to be needed to provide the standards of care required, however it can’t continue for ever. We are committed to operating with safe staffing levels right across our hospitals, but for whatever reason, and despite achieving these levels now in many areas, we are still not getting it right for our patients and they are experiencing unnecessary delays. I am sure this situation is causing you all additional concern too, as it is an area we are all responsible for.

This week I met with Juliet Walters, our Chief Operating Officer, senior clinicians and managers and explained how this must change and requested that we give this matter the highest level of attention.

Starting this Monday, there will be a new intensity and focus around improving the flow of patients across our hospitals. The emphasis will be on ensuring the highest level of clinical and executive support is provided to ensure the experience of our patients is as positive as it can be in the circumstances, and that they are treated and cared for in a timely manner, with unnecessary delays removed – both in and out of our hospitals. This isn’t a way to get our patients discharged too early, it is about patients only being in hospital for the time they need to be, and once safe to do so, ensuring the transition to their home is trouble free – something I would certainly want for my family.

So what’s going to change? Operating from the ED departments there will be a control room, where each day at 9am, 12noon, 3pm and 5pm, teams from across our hospitals will come together and review performance. We have enlisted external support too, and meetings will include colleagues from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), community care, clinical commissioning groups and social care.

The focus of these teams will be to provide support and where needed, act as the ‘un-blockers’ of the system.  Please don’t be surprised if you receive calls from staff, starting on Monday, that perhaps you didn’t in the past, this is how we now work. It will be refined over time, but essentially it has to be one of those areas that is at the top of all our lists as the flow of patients impacts on almost every part of our Trust.

I have been very clear with the teams, as Chief Executive I want to know throughout each day that we’ve done everything we can to improve the flow through our hospitals and when I turn the light off and go home each night, that we have a plan and effective support processes in place, each and every day.

Just like Listening into Action, this can’t be a once only initiative, there isn’t a name for what we are doing, it must now be business as usual, with a much higher level of intense support and scrutiny to help you all do your jobs in the way I know you want to.


Staying on the improvement theme is CQUIN – whilst it has been around for some time, we mustn’t forget that hundreds of new staff join us each year and may not be familiar with it. In summary, CQUIN stands for Commissioning for Quality and Innovation, most people pronounce it sequin. CQUIN is a payment framework enabling commissioners to reward excellence, by linking a proportion of the income we receive to the achievement of quality improvement goals.

On Monday this week, patients and staff gathered to celebrate their achievements over the last year and I would like to congratulate them all. On the evening, held in Kendal, staff, governors and a local GP heard from staff and patients as to how services had improved as part of a number of CQUIN schemes.  There was a great story from two of our younger patients, part of the sterling work underway by Kerry Little and her colleagues – they explained how they had worked with the Trust to improve the experience of adolescents who use our children’s services and the innovative improvements that were made as a result. Well done to everyone who arranged the evening, as well as attending, but above all, well done and thank you to all of those staff that have made a positive difference to our patients. I am looking forward to celebrating next year the achievements of the current CQUIN teams.


I’ve made a short blog post this week about the importance of LiA to our Trust and placed it on our website and YouTube. I wanted to put this post up before we release further information, which will include details of our short, two minute ‘pulse survey’ and how we intend to ‘up the ante’ when it comes to engaging with our staff.  I know not everyone in the Trust has sound on their PC, but for those that do, you can watch my message here:

I’m really excited about what’s coming with LiA and looking forward to the LiA lead and her team sharing more details with you all.

And finally…

Three final messages from me this week.

Firstly, it’s national staff survey time. The survey is sent randomly to NHS staff each year from an external organisation and is completely independent to the Trust – we do not know who completes them. The overall aim is to gather information that will help improve the working lives of staff in the NHS and so help to provide better care for patients.  If you do receive a survey, I would be grateful if you could take the time to complete and return it.

Secondly, flu.  Influenza is dangerous and highly contagious and largely preventable. Each year we ask as many staff as possible to take up the free offer to get vaccinated. As I do every year, I will shortly receive my jab.

Vaccination isn’t just about keeping yourself safe, it’s about protecting your colleagues, your family and your patients.  You can carry and pass the virus to others without having any symptoms yourself, so even if you consider yourself healthy, you might be risking the lives of others.

There are lots of myths about the flu jab, such as the jab gives people the flu. It’s impossible, the flu jab doesn’t contain live viruses. You can find out more about some of the common questions regarding flu on the NHS Choices website:

Last, but certainly not least is an apology. I received a number of emails last weekend letting me know that the restaurant at the RLI was closed due to staffing levels on Sunday. I understand that the ‘2 go’ shop remained open, but due to its size, staff had unacceptable waits whilst on their breaks. Thank you to the ‘2 go’ shop who must have been under a great deal of pressure on the day.

I have looked into this and have been informed that this was due to a number of staff calling in ill on the Sunday. With such short notice the catering team were unable to secure additional staffing to keep this part of the service open. Whilst the patient meals were unaffected, please accept my sincere apologies for the impact it had on many staff who spent part of their time in a queue, rather than resting. If you feel we could have done have more, please let me know.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive



  1. UPGRADE TO THE PATHOLOGY COMPUTER SYSTEM: As part of the on-going developments to ensure that the organisation has information systems that are fit for purpose and that the systems have the functionality to ensure the provision of the Pathology Service, an upgrade of the Pathology computer system will be occurring on 5th October 2014.
  2. NHS INNOVATION PRIZE FUND: This year’s NHS Innovation Prize Fund is now open for applications and offers an exciting opportunity for our teams to be rewarded for innovative work on the front line.

3.    Manager Briefing dates – 2014





7th November 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

6th November 2014


Room 5, RLI

6th November 2014


Boardrooms, WGH


 4.    Staff Briefing dates – 2014





24th October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

4th November 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

7th November 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

Friday Message - 26 September

comments (0)
Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Despite the financial challenges we face, we remain committed to ensuring we are operating with safe staffing levels across our hospitals. I recently shared with you all that, subject to the finer details being sorted, the Trust Board had approved a further £3m of funding for additional nurse staffing. I am pleased to let you all know that we agreed this week to commit over £750,000 of the £3m for the immediate recruitment of around an additional 34 WTE registered nurses.  These are additional staff to continue our drive to improve our overall staffing and nurse to bed ratio provision.

This is in addition to the 26 nurses recruited earlier this month as part of our international recruitment efforts to fill a number of existing vacancies.

However, we are similar to many other Trusts up and down the country, all seeking to employ the best to meet the latest guidelines. Through the hard work of our HR and divisional teams we have seen success in attracting new talent both home and abroad, but I do feel that it will become harder and harder as this talent pool is increasingly depleted.

In the New Year we will start to welcome our new modern apprenticeships, following in the footsteps of our already successful cadet programme, the apprenticeship scheme will be very important to us over the next five years, in time, we hope to significantly reduce our reliance on agency staffing and overseas recruitment.


Many staff across our hospitals will not come into regular contact with the Independent Investigation led by Dr Kirkup, however for those who may, we provide regular updates, constant support and weekly drop-in sessions. September has been the busiest month for interviews by the Investigation so far.

Since interviews began in May 2014, many individuals associated with the 19 organisations involved in the Investigation have taken the opportunity to speak openly and honestly with the Investigation Panel to enable them to get a true picture of how things were in our maternity and neonatal services in the past and the changes we have made.

For obvious reasons, each individual asked to attend an interview will have their own degree of trepidation and I understand it isn’t easy and that it may raise concerns or worries. You aren’t alone - we have a number of support methods in place for you and if there is anything we can do as a Trust to assist you, please let us know.

For those of you that have attended interviews or are scheduled to take part over the coming weeks, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with the Panel. Each person’s contribution, no matter how big or small, really will make a difference, so thank you. As ever, if you need more information on the Investigation at any time, visit the dedicated page on the intranet:



On Monday, over 150 managers of the Trust came together to receive an update on key elements of our future plans.  Thank you to all of the managers that were able to make the meeting. I will be shortly writing to them all, together with copies of the presentations and thoughts around the next managers conference based on the feedback provided.

I appreciate that not all managers were able to attend, however we had an excellent spread, with representation from all areas of the organisation. I know some of you that attended have already started to discuss the information with your teams.

We are able to share with managers:

  • How our key plans all fit together under our longer term strategy, better care together
  • The latest position with better care together and the next steps
  • The strategy to tackle the quality and financial challenges
  • Our Quality Improvement Plan which will focus on three key improvement outcomes. These are:
  • To reduce mortality and harm
  • To provide reliable care
  • To improve patient and staff experience

Several months ago I arranged for our ‘Plan on a Page’ to be shared with all staff and displayed extensively throughout our hospitals.  The Plan on a Page sets out clearly our vision and values, together with the key priorities for the next two years to enable us to achieve our goals.  All of the areas presented at the managers conference can be referenced right back to this work – please take the time to read the Plan on a Page next time you pass it.

I hope your managers will begin to share what they learned on Monday with you all as part of your regular team briefings.


I attended our first Listening into Action Navigation day in Birmingham this week, together with 10 staff from all parts of our hospital and our new LiA Lead, Liz McDougall.  I came away genuinely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for us all.

We are working on a whole range of communication and engagement activities and I would like to ask for your support in completing a short survey. I know it is possible to have ‘survey fatigue’, but it is important that we get a snap shot of the organisation and how it feels to work here today. We are looking to make the survey available on line and in paper format. It will be very short and take around two minutes to complete.  This will be shared with you all in the next two weeks.

In the spirit of LiA and our soon to be new way of working, I would like to reverse a decision that was made last year. The staff who came with me this week told me how the removal of the free staff Christmas meal last year affected morale and that they would like it reinstated.  I discussed this the very next day with the Trust Board and pleased to tell you all that this year the staff Christmas lunch is making a return!

It would be unrealistic, for many reasons to believe we can simply reverse every unpopular decision; however I did carefully listen and hope you are able to take the time out this year to enjoy your Christmas meal with colleagues. I know how hard everyone is working to provide the very best care for our patients and hope this small gesture goes someway to saying thank you.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive



Friday Message - 19 September

comments (0)
Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

As all of you will be aware, we have been struggling in recent months to hit the four-hour standard from arrival to treatment and admission or discharge for 95% of our A&E patients. There are many reasons for this, not least the ever-increasing numbers of patients. Staff throughout the Trust have been working incredibly hard, and I can’t thank you all enough for the efforts you continue to make, but the current situation is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

The four-hour standard is not just an arbitrary target – it’s there for the very simple reason that patients are harmed if they wait longer than this for treatment. Harm and exacerbation of existing illness through long A&E waits means more complex cases for us to deal with, requiring higher levels of nursing staffing and longer lengths of stay.

The whole of the health economy is a finely-balanced system, and if there are blockages in our patients’ journeys through it, the repercussions are felt by everyone, and the queues build at our front door – our A&E units. We will only identify and resolve these blockages by working together, changing the way we manage our patient and rigorously planning for patient discharge. The problems are often multifactorial, so we are taking a range of additional measures across the Trust:

  • We have early supported discharge in place at the RLI and are looking to do the same at FGH with further enhancements planned
  • We are progressing towards having consistent daily ward rounds, further supporting and enabling nurse facilitated discharge
  • We are continuing to work with external partners in community and social care to ensure medically-fit patients can be transferred to lower-level care in a timely way
  • Our increasing focus on ambulatory care at both the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital is allowing us to reduce admissions and really focus on those with complex needs, like the frail elderly
  • Our new Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment tool is ensuring frail older people are identified within 12-hours of admission and get the intensive, multidisciplinary support they need to get better quicker and reduce unnecessary length of stay
  • We are recruiting more ward discharge co-ordinators to help us manage the winter period.

Of course, our key focus is on doing the very best for patients, but all of these initiatives are also designed to take the pressure off each and every one of us working in our hospitals. We have a long way to go, but by working together we can reach the clinical performance our patients deserve, and release the time to reflect and develop that we all desperately need.


I can now confirm the appointment of Fiona Wise, by our regulator Monitor, as our substantive Improvement Director.

Fiona Wise, a former chief executive with over 40 years NHS experience will take up the post on 1 October 2014. She will replace Adam Cayley, Monitor’s Regional Director (North) who had taken on the role in an interim capacity since July.

Fiona will work with us part-time to provide support and expertise as we continue to implement our CQC Improvement Plan.

We look forward to working with Fiona to continue our journey of improvement, and thank Adam for his work with the Trust over recent weeks.


Yesterday we held our Annual Members Meeting in Kendal. As a Foundation Trust it is a statutory requirement that each year we hold a public meeting, where we can present our Annual Report and Accounts to our members and governors.

It would be fair to say that last year’s meeting wasn’t a very amicable affair for a wide variety of reasons, however through the hard work of our governors and colleagues we had a very productive meeting this year.

A good number of staff also attended the meeting and created a ‘market place’, with display stands where our guests could find out more about our services and people. Well done to you all, it really added to a friendly ‘buzz’ before the meeting started.

In addition to presentations on the year from members of the Board, we also had presentations from Linda Dunn, Stroke Clinical Nurse Specialist and from our Clinical Commissioning Group partners.

Linda deserved the warm round of applause she received for her talk. Linda explained how our stroke services had improved significantly, with the remarkable journey from being the worst performing service in the North West last year (22nd out of 22 hospitals), to being the 3rd best performing stroke unit in the North West as rated by AQuA.

Dr Alex Gaw, Clinical Chair for Lancashire North CCG and Dr Geoff Joliffe, Furness Commissioning Lead, Cumbria CCG presented an update on better care together. This update included an explanation of how care, particularly out of hospital could look in the future. 

I have a number of ‘thank you’ messages – firstly to Linda, it isn’t easy standing in front of a full room of staff, our regulator and the public, well done on your presentation and the great achievements of you and your colleagues, the changes you have made will make a profound difference to your patients and their families.  I would also like to thank Gareth from Grant Thornton for presenting the Audit Report, and to Alex and Geoff for taking the time out from their busy GP practices and commissioning roles to join us. Last but not least, well done to Paul Jones, our Company Secretary for pulling it all together – no pressure Paul, but expecting even bigger and greater things next year now!


As promised, I can confirm that we have now appointed Liz McDougall as our LiA Lead to support me on our new way of working. I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Liz to the role and we look forward to sharing more details on how we will be taking forward following our day with the other Trust’s starting their LiA journey next Tuesday.  Thank you to all of the other candidates, as always, we had a standard of competition for the post.


I am looking forward to our Leaders Conference on Monday afternoon at Lancaster University.  It isn’t too late to register and confirm attendance, please visit TMS to book on.

I will circulate further details in Weekly News next week, but hot off the press, Jackie Moreland, Hotel Services Manager at the Trust, last night scooped The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICs) Cleaning Assessor of the Year award.  Congratulations to Jackie and her colleagues, another well-deserved accolade for a team who I know want to contribute to the continual improvement of our patient services.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive


Friday Message - 12 September

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Posted by corinnekemp

Aaron Cummins, our Director of Finance was in the hot seat last week whilst I was on leave.  I felt last week’s Friday message from him was an open and honest assessment regarding our current financial position.  Aaron’s request to us all was to treat the Trust’s money and resources as if they were our own, which is always a sensible ask, regardless of our position.  I was therefore very disappointed this week to learn that Aaron has also had to write to our senior managers regarding equipment left outside one of our hospitals. As a result, there is a chance that the Trust may have to pay several thousands of pounds to replace the equipment. On its own, this wouldn’t significantly change our finances, however I am left wondering where else this is happening?  I am sure you are all as unhappy as I am about this news. If we were personally financially accountable for equipment I wonder if it would have still been left there?

I want to repeat one of Aaron’s requests – please have a think about how your department can save money and to get together with your managers to talk about this. Suggestions don’t have to be about your own department. If you don’t feel your ideas are being heard, please let Aaron know. You can also send your suggestions to, every idea is read, considered and responded to.

Listening into Action (LiA) continues to gather pace.  When I wrote my last message to you all, just before going on leave, I had just finished the happy task of shortlisting expressions of interest for LiA opportunities. There are a lot of new terms for us to take in with LiA, so please bear with me; we will be sharing a range of materials over the comings weeks to assist everyone. It isn’t complicated, but I appreciate it is new and important we are all using the same terms to avoid any confusion.

I will be leading this new way of working in the Trust; it is a key objective of mine. We have now confirmed:

  • An LiA Lead, the person who will be pulling it all together with me.
  • A ‘sponsor group’ – an initial group of around 10 members of staff who will help to ‘unblock’ the system and champion the approach. 
  • Initial team members, those staff that have already put their hand up and said that they want to be part of the first LiA groups to make further improvements for our patients.

I am never surprised by the passion and commitment of staff to improve, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to receive so many expressions of interests, creating healthy competition for all roles.  What has been most pleasing is the range of staff that have stepped up to the plate.  The sponsor group is made up of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, managers, caterers and myself.

The sponsor group and LiA Lead are meeting the other Trusts who are starting their LiA journey on 23rd September. I aim to share with you all next week details of the sponsor group and LiA Lead, and following the 23rd, details of what’s next.

By adopting LiA we will be joining more than 50 other NHS Trusts who have already adopted LiA and seen impressive improvements for their patients. It will be uncomfortable for some of us at times, as managers we will need to get used to a MUCH flatter structure and much less paperwork, something we should all be looking forward to! Essentially the structure will be the LiA teams and then the sponsor groups supporting them. But more crucially, it will be staff driving and delivering the changes with our support. LiA is not about throwing away what’s currently working, we are doing a lot of good things across the Trust and where these are working and delivering results we should keep going and continue to celebrate the achievements. If you haven’t already, please take the time to take a look at the LiA blog:

I recently wrote about increasing and engaging with our volunteers, often our volunteers will be the first and last person patients, staff and visitors see when they visit our hospitals.

When I talk about our people or staff, I automatically include our volunteers and governors. I do this because of the long association of our hospitals with volunteers and voluntary organisations who work tirelessly for the benefit of patients and staff.

In order to develop and sustain an effective team of volunteers and to foster good relationships between volunteers, staff, patients and visitors, we know it’s vital that volunteers are made to feel like a unique, but integral part of the UHMBT team.

The Trust Board approved a volunteer expansion strategy earlier this year. Barry Rigg our community engagement manager is responsible for managing our volunteering activity.

The strategy looks at three core areas

1)         “Be inspired project” aimed at students considering an NHS career pathway

2)         “Community Partnership Network” aimed at developing our partnership working with third sector voluntary and charity organisations

3)         “A Direct Ask – UHMBT Volunteer Academy” aimed at those who wish ‘to give something back’ to their local hospital

We all know of the anxieties patients and families can have on entering hospital, but the friendly and encouraging faces of our volunteers around the hospital, guiding people to their destination makes such a difference. 

Last month our volunteers clocked up around 6000 hours across our five sites this is a great achievement! I am sure you will all join me in congratulating them for this incredible support. A big thank you to all our volunteers and voluntary groups.

And finally
I was interviewing for the LiA Lead yesterday and sadly unable to make it to the Westmorland Show, where once again we hosted an NHS stand. The Westmorland Show provides another opportunity for the public and press to meet our staff to find out more about our services. I know there will be further information in the next edition of Weekly News, in the meantime, well done to all of our staff, governors and other NHS trusts for making it another successful show year for the Trust.

Following the success of the Westmorland Show, next week, on Thursday 18, we will be holding our Annual Members Meeting where staff will again showcase their services with a range of displays, before we formally present our Annual Report and Accounts. This year we will have colleagues from the Clinical Commissioning Groups presenting progress and next steps for better care together.  If you, or your family and friends would like to come along, doors open at 12.30 at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal. Further information is available from our website., including details of free transport from Barrow and Lancaster.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive




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2.    Manager Team Briefing dates – 2014 




2nd October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

2nd October 2014


Room 5, RLI

2nd October 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

3.    Staff Briefing dates – 2014 




24th October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

4th November 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

7th November 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

Friday Message - 29 August

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

This week, the Trust Board considered a proposal from Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse, for further investment into front line staffing. The proposal was following a review of nursing and midwifery staffing.

It is good news – the Board approved to support this approach, subject to a bit of further work that needs to take place around some of the detail. In total, the commitment is in the region of £3m and will be phased over a period of time.

This means that we will be increasing recruitment efforts both home and abroad over the coming weeks and months. It is important that we meet the latest staffing guidelines and best practice, and we will be directing the resource where it is most needed.

This isn’t going to be easy though, we all know that recruitment to the front line is difficult and a lot of Trusts up and down the country are making similar plans, putting an even greater squeeze on the resources available. We will do all that we can to attract the right talent and build on our already successful cadet programme with the new apprenticeship opportunities.

I will ask David Wilkinson, Director of HR and OD, to ensure details of the recruitment campaign and opportunities available are shared with you all.

The bad news is that despite the continued investment in the front line, we are still seeing issues preventing the smooth flow of patients through our hospitals. Whilst standards have improved, we are still coming across areas that are not completing ward rounds on time and patient reviews not taking place in a consistent, regular manner.  We can’t keep spending money the way we are. We are seeing improvements in the efficiency and operation of our Emergency Departments, yet we still failing our patients by missing standards such as the 4 hour A&E target.

We all have a role to play. We know that simply putting more staff at the ‘front door’ is not the answer, just one part of the system not functioning well can cause a blockage and that is acutely felt at either end of patient pathway.

Good connectivity across all specialities and departments is fundamental to achieving the CQC Improvement Plan. At the end of the day, we fail and succeed together. We saw that with our Hospital Inspection report, yes pockets of good improvement were reported, but overall this is not how we were all judged.

I am hoping that this area will feature as a cornerstone project for Listening into Action (LiA).

I’m looking forward to today, as later this afternoon, I have the pleasure of sitting down and reviewing all of your applications to get involved in our new way of working with LiA. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to email and call me for further information. The amount of expressions of interest for the opportunities available is great and really reflects what I’ve been picking up from staff around our sites – that you are all up for pushing on with making further improvements. 

As I’ve previously said, there will be many more opportunities to get involved and I am happy to continue to receive your expressions of interests to take part in the quality teams. I will keep you all updated as we start to find out more about LiA and ensure we have a section on the Trust website with further details and updates. I would expect that following our ‘Navigation Day’ on 23 September, I will be in a much better position to share further details.

After today, I will be on leave for a week so Aaron Cummins will be delivering next week’s Friday Message. This is an apt time for a message from our Finance Director as we are currently in the position of looking at measures to control our expenditure. We remain committed to our strategy of ensuring we have safe and appropriate staffing levels, however, in order to do so, we must ensure we are also meeting our other commitments, such as our cost improvement programme (CIP). The achievement of our CIP at the end of the last financial year was to be applauded as I know how hard you all worked to achieve it. 

However, come the 1 April 2014, the counter was reset to zero and we effectively started again, which is why it is important that when make efficiency improvements, we look at those areas that will deliver improvements and savings over a number of years, not just for a single year. We had, at one time, a bit of a buzz around suggestions for cost improvement and I know many of these were considered and implemented. Over the coming weeks, I know Aaron and his team want to share these with you again and ask for your continued support to make efficiency savings wherever we can, whilst at the same time preserving or improving quality standards for our patients. Ahead of Aaron’s message, please send any cost improvement ideas, however small or large,, who will consider them and keep in touch with you on progress.

One of the areas that I wanted to improve when I joined the Trust was that of our volunteers. I was hugely impressed by them when I first came here but I couldn’t help feeling that they had been a little bit forgotten about and perhaps taken for granted by some. They give up their time for free to help us run our hospitals. Often, our volunteers will be the first and last person patients, staff and visitors see when they visit our hospitals and I wanted to ensure that this level of commitment was recognised. I’m pleased that they now form part of our annual awards and also our new ‘star of the month’ recognition scheme. I am quite sure that amongst us all, we don’t realise how many volunteers we have or the diverse range of services they provide to our hospitals.

Over the last year, I’ve seen their service grow as a result of the investment we have made and I intend to share more details with you over the next few weeks. If you haven’t yet, please take some time to meet our volunteers. Many of them have done our jobs previously and “seen it all before” so you may be surprised what they can teach us, including those volunteers starting out in their career and looking at our hospitals through a fresh pair of eyes. Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers and fundraisers.


Staff Briefing dates – 2014


Date Time Location
24 October 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, FGH
4 November 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, RLI
7 November 2014 12-1pm Boardrooms, WGH


Manager Briefing Dates – 2014


Date Time Location
4 September 2014 10-11am Room 5, Education Centre, RLI
5 September 2014 10-11am Lecture Theatre, FGH

Friday Message - 5 September

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Posted by woodfordp

As Jackie mentioned last week, I wanted to use this week’s Friday Message to share with you all information regarding our financial position and how we are going to tackle the current overspend.

As you will by now know, we are a long way from where we need to be in terms of our financial targets. At the end of our last financial year in March, we had worked hard to deliver on our plans and started the year in a more stable position.

But as Jackie has said, the counter was set back to zero at the beginning of April, and this year we are not doing nearly as well. We have a lot of work to do if we are to   ensure we continue to make the progress we had started to make and achieve our plans for this year.

In July alone, we dropped a further £1.4 million into the red. It is true that we have a structural deficit which means we had no choice but to plan for a deficit this year – but by the end of July, just four months into the year, we had already overspent by £2.5 million more than we had planned to.

If we carry on like this, by the end of 2014/15, we will have a deficit of more than £25 million. That’s over £6 million – a huge 25% - more than we had planned and agreed with our regulator Monitor.

The structural deficit issues mean we are working with our partners and with Monitor to try to find ways of bringing more money into the Trust in reflection of the fact that our population and geography mean we have to run more services across more sites than most hospital Trusts.

But we won’t get very far in those conversations if we cannot show that we are doing everything possible to maintain control over our costs – however small an individual action might be. In the longer term, if we fail to take control, the support we currently receive from Monitor with regards the development of our long term strategy is at risk.

So, from here on in, I am personally asking that each and every one of you treats the money and resources you use when at work as if they were your own. If each staff member counts every penny as their own we will have a starting point on where we can take small actions. All small actions, such as turning your computer off at night and saving electricity can add up to big money at the end of the month.

We have bigger plans and actions to take to get us back on track, including much stronger grip by the senior financial team on Divisional recovery plans, some temporary changes to Standing Financial Instructions, and review of the need for non-clinical agency staff.

But to me, the most important action we can all take is that there should be a redoubling of efforts to highlight inefficient practices, like under-use of clinic and theatre capacity, ensuring we are taking all reasonable steps to plan our staffing as efficiently as possible and continuing with our relentless focus on improving quality.

We will only get to grips with our finances when every single member of staff, no matter where they work in the organisation or how senior or otherwise they are, treats the Trust’s precious finances as carefully as they do their own.

We talk all the time about how important it is that patients are at the centre of everything we do as a Trust. We cannot do that if we are not always making sure every penny is spent as sensibly and efficiently as possible, so that we always give patients the very best care we can.

So I want you to have a think about how your department can save money and for every team to talk together with their managers about this. In addition, can any individual or team think of a cost saving idea for the organisation as a whole? We will look in to every single idea you send us and please email us at with your thoughts.

We are all extremely clear that none of our cost saving ideas should have a detrimental impact on patient care, hence the continuation of our nurse staffing recruitment drive. 

Next week, we will be going out to Greece and Cyprus to continue our international recruitment, and we hope to identify up to 40 new nurses to bring on to our wards, following intensive preceptorship training. These additional staff are vital for safe, high-quality patient care, but we need to ensure we deliver on our financial plans in order to fund them.

We will never compromise on care at the front line, but I know there are countless areas where we can work smarter, think more carefully about how we use resources, and break down the barriers between departments and divisions that result in duplication and waste.  If we all focus on this approach in the same way we have delivered on our challenges as an organisation in the past I am confident we can achieve the financial improvement we need and continue to make great improvements in the quality and experience of care we provide for our patients.


Aaron Cummins
Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive



  1. 1.    Manager Briefing dates - 2014




2 October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

2 October 2014


Room 5, RLI

2 October 2014


Boardrooms, WGH


2.    Staff Briefing dates - 2014




24 October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

4 November 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

7 November 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

The Friday Message - 22 August 2014

comments (0)
Posted by woodfordp

JACKIE_DANIEL_-9_Web2.jpgThis is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

The Friday Message

Do you remember your first day in the job and how strange it can feel? Even moving between hospitals within the same Trust can bring these feelings on, learning new procedures and policies is one thing, but there are also the unwritten, cultural rules to learn too – we’ve all used the coffee from the wrong jar and been “told off”!  I am sure that the first few days, if not the first day in a job determine how it eventually works out for us all. Therefore I was really pleased to be asked to attend our new style staff induction programme on Monday at Furness General Hospital.

I met 25 staff, and for 23 of them this was their first day at work. It is key that we start as we mean to go on and I was able to not only introduce myself, but also to start a conversation with them all on our new vision and values and how our behaviours and actions impact on patient safety and quality. 

The induction programme will continue to evolve and change, but it is a much improved process. If you’ve recently attended one, I know our Director of Human Resources, David Wilkinson would be pleased to hear your views.

I am sure you will all join me in welcoming our new colleagues to the Trust, some of them have already told me how the day felt and I look forward to hearing about their progress and experiences over the coming weeks and months.

It is really important that the Board and other senior managers remain visible across the Trust. I spend a lot of time speaking with staff and I am constantly struck by the “bright lights” in the organisation. I often go on about those stars that are behind the scenes that we never see, but are essentially the glue that keeps the organisation going. If I don’t come into work tomorrow we will manage, but for certain other staff groups, operationally we would have a real problem. I spent most of Monday in wards and departments at FGH and would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone that took the time out of their busy schedule to discuss how things are for them at the moment, what was working well and what could be further improved. As I found recently at the RLI, there was a real sense of optimism and positivity amongst teams for the future.

I know we are constantly busy, but June and July were especially so across our sites and I would like to say thank you to everyone for your hard work. We have seen some difficult increases in activity and you have all risen to the challenge for our patients. Many of you haven’t yet experienced any respite from the pressures as we’ve quickly moved into the summer holiday period and I know this can make staffing shifts even more difficult.

Generally, what I am hearing from you all is that the additional staffing is starting to make a difference on the front line, but in some areas we still need to do more, especially the time it can take to review staffing levels and make a decision. I have fed this back to my colleagues to ensure we continue to improve in this respect. I also heard from patients and witnessed for myself good standards of care being provided across our wards.

You can never underestimate the difference the small things make, not just to patients but also to our staff.  The areas I visited this week that had been redecorated and updated, such as ward reception areas did feel much more inviting and staff told me about the difference it made to their day to have nicer surrounds, I thoroughly agree and I will be discussing this further.

I’ve received a number of emails from staff since Monday, two come to mind, I am going to embarrass one, sorry! The other is regarding a patient safety matter and I would like to keep a level of privacy about it – which I am sure you will understand.

I had a good chat with Donna Morgan, a member of Dr Richard Lea’s team at FGH and we’ve since exchanged emails. I am hugely impressed at the proactive approach of this team to improve quality and standards of patient experience. Recently the team arranged for Dr Sullivan, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Quality Improvement Science and Patient Experience from Imperial College to visit the AMU and Ward 6 to help them learn how they can improve these areas, this is being further developed and today they are holding a Skype meeting with Dr Sullivan to discuss their ideas.  This is great leadership at all levels and I look forward to hearing about the outcome of the meeting today.  Well done and thank you for keeping me informed.

I’ve constantly said that if you experience or learn about care being provided in our hospitals that you believe is not to an acceptable standard, to speak out and let someone know. I was alerted by email this week from a staff member about the care provided on one of our wards – you have absolutely done the right thing and acted as the voice for this patient.  Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse is now looking into this further.  Please be reassured, that if you see care or practices in our hospitals that are not to an acceptable standard and you raise the alarm, you will be supported and we will listen to you. If you feel you are not being listened to then please let me know.

The CQC Improvement Plan is now available and on our website, I’ve asked that each month when we update the plan, that we also share details about one or two of the examples of change. It would be much more meaningful to be able to see the outcomes of the improvements for our patients and staff, rather than just a tick in a box saying completed.

Wow, what a response to my request for staff to get involved in Listening into Action! Please keep your expressions of interest coming, we can never have enough people who want to get involved. If you haven’t seen the email I sent to all staff on Wednesday you can read it here:  http://uhmb/trustnews/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=238.

I’ve been asked if the date for submitting an expression of interest can be extended. Unfortunately this would be difficult as we are committed, along with nine other Trust’s to attend the first ‘LiA navigation day’ in Birmingham on the 23 September. The timing is tight, but as I said in my email this week, LiA will move at a quicker pace than perhaps we are used to. However, there will be many more opportunities – also if you know someone who you think would be interested, please share the details with them, even if they are on leave, I am sure they would thank you for doing so.



1.         Microbiology service operating hours:

Microbiology Service operating hours for routine lab service at FGH and RLI, laboratory services out of hours at FGH and RLI. Also routine and out of hours services at WGH.  http://uhmb/trustnews/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=237


2.         Listening into Action – opportunities:

Quality improvement team opportunities

Open to all UHMBT staff

You know who you are already. You are the type of person that just wants the best for patients and staff, you’ve made some changes and know that you want to do more, or perhaps you feel that you just aren’t being heard and have not yet had the opportunity you need to prove yourself. But inside, you know that with the right support and permissions you could help deliver the essential changes needed. This is your time to step forward, put your hand up and help change how we work.

It won’t be easy, it will move at a faster pace than perhaps we are used to, which is not a bad thing and LiA will challenge us. But at the end, we will have the immense satisfaction of going home and knowing that we’ve been part of something truly great and that today, ‘I’ve made a difference to patients’.

If you want to find out more about the LiA approach or to express interest please contact Maria Caparelli ( or 46695). Please note that expressions of interest must be in by Noon on Friday 29 August and should be discussed with the applicant’s immediate manager. Expressions of interest should be no more than one side of A4 and include a summary of your current and relevant previous experience and why you want to join me in making change happen.


Leadership Development Opportunity – LiA Lead

Open to senior clinicians and managers at Bands 8a and above

Full time, minimum of 12 months

The Listening into Action Lead will report directly the Chief Executive.  This is a special and important role, leading and coordinating the day-to-day work, influencing and supporting teams to adopt LiA, and inspiring people across our hospital and community to get involved. The role offers the opportunity for a senior clinician or manager to demonstrate and develop their leadership capability and style at a strategic and inspirational way, and to become part of a national network of LiA champions within the NHS.

The LiA Lead will have an unusual and valuable opportunity to work right across the Trust and to become an expert in a new and inspiring way of working which lies at the heart of what is needed in the NHS going forward.

If you want to find out more about the LiA approach and the LiA Lead role, including a copy of the Job Description, please contact Maria Caparelli ( Please note that expressions of interest must be in by Noon on Friday 29 August and should be discussed with the applicant’s immediate manager who may be asked to comment. The aim is for the job holder to be appointed and start by Tuesday 23 September.

Expressions of interest should be no more than one page of A4 and include a summary of your relevant experience and current role, why you want to be considered for the role and the difference you feel you can make.

The Friday Message - 15 August 2014

comments (0)
Posted by louisefleming

As you know, we have been holding interviews for our next Medical Director this week. Interviews can be difficult for everyone involved: I always want the process to work for both parties so we can bring the best out of the candidates and for them to get the best out of us; this is important regardless of the job they are applying for and is consistent with our values. The process this week has involved a formal panel interview, including external partners, but we have also held discussion sessions for each of our candidates with a wide range of staff and partners including clinicians, support staff, governors and a GP. I would like to thank everyone who has taken part and given up their time to meet the candidates. Every time we meet people from outside the Trust is another opportunity to reinforce what we stand for and I believe we have presented ourselves well, as well as providing a warm and friendly welcome.

It is important that whenever we are recruiting we are looking for candidates that want to help us achieve our vision and believe in our values. The last thing we would want to do is recruit a new Medical Director who doesn’t believe in involving patients or staff in decision making, or is not keen on working with our external partners to improve services – both of which form part of our values.

We have had good competition for the role and as soon as we have made a decision, I will let you all know.

Staying on the subject of values, a colleague from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) visited the Trust this week to share their own experiences of quality improvement and staff engagement.  I wrote last week about Listening into Action (LiA) and WWL are a number of years further down the road than us on a process of improvement as a result of embracing the LiA and other improvement methods.

Following my brief introduction of LiA last week, I’ve had a number of staff contact me to “put their hand up” and ask if they can be included.  The answer is yes and I will be back in touch with you.

In order to change and improve, there is an absolute need for this Trust to empower all staff to achieve better outcomes for patients, staff and stakeholders. I’ve mentioned permission to act many times; however, for whatever reason I still come across many staff who do not feel able, for a number of reasons, to make the changes they want to make. Therefore after speaking to other Trust’s and looking at their outcomes, we will be adopting LiA as a way of working.  This last part is crucial; we shouldn’t see LiA as just another project, but a fundamental shift in how we lead and operate.

LiA will help provide a new way of working for staff to make the improvements that are needed. I would like to share with you a small example from another Trust; you can find the full details and many other examples from the LiA blog: (

“The Cardiology team at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, were keen to change their reporting procedures. They knew that their fire-fighting attempts to minimise delays were not sustainable and that a permanent solution had to be found.

Using the Listening into Action (LiA) approach, the Cardiology team quickly identified that by making the clinic physiologist-led, they would be able to achieve a same-day service. This would speed up the service for patients and free up consultants to focus on more complex and urgent issues.

To do this the team undertook a patient survey, consulted GPs, reviewed the patient pathway, created new templates with extended slots, arranged the necessary training for staff, sought accreditation with the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE), reviewed appropriate policies and protocols to codify practice, and agreed a business plan and risk assessment with their Divisional Management and Governance Boards.

This was not without its hurdles, but the focus remained the improvement of clinical effectiveness, patient experience and patient safety.

The physiologist-led Murmur Clinic went live on Friday 30th May 2014. The results will be audited at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months to ensure compliance with agreed standards. So far, the team has achieved the same-day target at 100% and the 5 week wait has been completely eradicated.”

I won’t pretend it is going to be easy, but I am personally up for the challenge and can’t wait to get started – including committing as much of my time as is needed to it.

Going back to WWL and their experiences of LiA, they are now several years into adopting a new way of working with very impressive quality improvements, all of which have been driven and delivered by their staff. They are very honest in that they still have a lot to do and not everything is perfect, but they do now have a ‘movement’ right across the organisation, to do the right thing for everyone who uses their hospitals. WWL have evolved the LiA approach over time, to a point where they now have around 220 ‘Quality Champions’ in their Trust: staff who have self-nominated to be part of and lead quality improvements and have all graduated from a quality improvement training programme. WWL have now completed 60 quality projects led by their Quality Champions, with each project designed, selected and delivered by the staff, with full executive support.

I am quite sure that we have the workforce to match such achievements and an executive team committed to providing an equal level of support.

At this stage, ahead of a formal launch probably near the end of September, I would like staff who want to get involved to let me know. There will be various opportunities available, from providing leadership roles to being part of a group. It would be great to have staff from all levels and parts of the organisation, both clinical and non-clinical. You have recently responded positively to my request to join our communications group and I look forward to receiving your expression of interest for this additional exciting opportunity.  Please drop me a line: This is an incredible opportunity for us all; I hope you will join me.

On a final note, we have now placed a copy of our CQC Improvement Plan on the Trust website ( I would encourage all staff to take the time to read and understand the plan. It will only be delivered by working together as a team. I will ensure that you continue to receive updates on progress.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 8 August

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

This week was off to a great start – spending time on Monday at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. I was able to walk round a range of medical and surgical wards, and visit A&E. I bumped into a number of volunteers and staff in the corridors and as always when I spend time out and about, I learnt a lot about the challenges staff are facing as well as the things that are going well.

You will recall in last week’s Friday message, I shared with you the six major areas of improvement we need to focus on prior to our CQC re-inspection:

  • Improving  our staffing levels;
  • Engaging  and communicating more effectively with frontline staff;
  • Better performance information for improvement;
  • Improving our nurse record keeping;
  • Continuing to improve incident reporting and the learning we gain from incidents and;
  • Improving the availability of case notes and test results in our Outpatient Departments.

The good news is that on my walk about this week, I spoke to staff who told me that staffing in their areas had improved. I spoke with the staff we have recruited from overseas. Travelling and working in another country is obviously challenging, but it was clear that with the right supervision and support these staff are flourishing and beginning to feel part of the team. In some areas I visited, staffing remains an issue. I was able to understand the short term measures put in place whist permanent recruitment was taking place.

I enjoyed looking at the Information Boards outside each ward displaying staffing levels along with other outcome data. I overheard members of the public discussing the levels of infection and falls and appreciating the “Tripadvisor” like approach we are bringing to patient satisfaction feedback through the use of “I want great Care”.



I spent time on Tuesday learning more about Human Factors in relation to Patient Safety. The reference to the difference between Teams and Groups really struck a chord. The table below shows the words used to describe the behaviour of teams versus groups. I think you will agree the difference is striking. I witnessed first-hand this week staff working in teams and not just within their own ward but across specialties.

Teams Groups
Decision by consensus Decisions often not made
Disagreements discussed and resolved Unresolved disagreements
Objectives well understood and agreed by members Objectives often not agreed
All members contribute ideas Personal feelings often hidden
Frequent team self-examination Discussions avoided regarding group functioning
Members understand their roles Individuals protect their roles
Share leadership on as-needed basis Leadership appointed


A great example of successful teamwork delivering results is the amazing improvements that have been led by senior clinicians through the Wednesday morning Patient Safety Summit.  I receive copies of the minutes and it is so reassuring to see how quickly front line teams recognise, review and address incidents. It makes me feel very confident that we have the right people leading patient safety.

Recently, divisional teams are coming to the Wednesday meetings with the patient’s story, actions taken and evidence of improvement – all within a week of the event being reported. This means lessons can now be learned and changes made within days of an incident or near miss. This is demonstrating to me how seriously staff are taking the safety of our patients.

As part of this work, we also evidence of clinicians discharging their duty of candour. In the words of Sue Smith our Executive Chief Nurse, “Honesty and integrity, with your patients, your colleagues and, importantly, yourself as a clinician, are the hallmarks of clinical professionalism”. Keep doing what you are doing – because I can see from the reduction in avoidable incidents that you are making a very real difference.

Working as a large team in a hospital is vital as we continue to struggle with the numbers of emergency admissions. Patients need seamless care from admission to discharge and we can provide that if we work together – staff taking responsibility when action is needed rather than stepping back to worry whether it is in fact their role.

Monday’s walkaround confirmed to me that many of the things we need to improve are already underway. I have said many times that my role is among other things to create the environment for staff to flourish and give their best for the benefit of our patients. It is with this in mind that we are planning to accelerate our efforts to engage and involve staff. It is my personal mission to focus on the engagement and empowerment of staff in a way that embeds and becomes the ‘way we do things around here’ – this means actually ‘walking the talk’ every day as part of the job.



I will be setting out and personally leading a programme called ‘Listening into Action’. This is a way of working which other trusts have tried and tested based on a number of important principles including: Challenging the way we do change; All about the outcomes; and Cutting through ‘all the usual reasons why not’.

I will provide more information in due course but in the meantime check out the to find out more.



Since the beginning of July, we have 29 new staff members and recruited a further 125. In the last week or so I heard about consultant appointments in Histopathology and Clinical Oncology. I hope these staff will be made to feel welcome and important members of our team.



Next week we will recruit our next Medical Director. We have a strong field of candidates and I hope as many staff as possible will join me on Wednesday evening to meet the applicants and have the opportunity to hear a little of what they might bring. The outcome of staff, governor and partner opinion will feed into the appointments process following interviews the following day.



I recently wrote to all managers in the Trust to invite them to our Leadership Conference on 22 September. The Executive team and I will update our leaders on current performance across the Trust, our priorities for the next two years and the next steps in relation to Better Care Together – our clinical strategy. Your leaders will then be able to brief you. In this way, I hope that we will build a shared understanding of what we need to do and how we can all contribute.



We now have 231 days until our next CQC inspection (assuming its 31 March 2015).

Thank you again for your continued efforts and support.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive




  1. Warning over forged bank notes – Please can all employees who accept cash on behalf of the Trust be aware that there are forged £20 notes circulating in the area.http://uhmb/trustnews/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=233


  1. Manager Briefing dates 2014


Date Time Location
11 August 2014 14-15pm Room 5, RLI


  1. Staff Briefing dates 2014 (please note amended dates)


Date Time Location
24 October 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, FGH
4 November 2014 12-1pm Lecture Theatre, RLI
7 November 2014 12-1pm Boardrooms, WGH

Friday Message - 1 August

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Today is 1 August and we are already part way through the main summer holiday season when I know many of you will take the opportunity to have a well-earned break from work to recharge your batteries and spend time with family and friends.

Despite the holiday season, there hasn’t been any respite in the level of demand that we’re experiencing in many of our wards and departments - particularly our emergency departments. We’re not alone in this, many other Trusts are experiencing similar issues but it did highlight to me the need for us all to work as a team to make sure that we continue to provide the level of service to our patients that they deserve. A big thank you from me for all your efforts to date but I need to stress that there is still a lot more to do to get to where we need to be.



It was our monthly Trust Board meeting on Wednesday and we discussed and approved the actions that the Trust plans to take to improve following the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Inspection earlier this year. For me personally, it’s vitally important that this isn’t just another plan – we need to show to our regulators, our commissioners and most importantly our patients that we have changed for the better across the six key themes. These are:

  • Improving  our staffing levels;
  • Engaging  and communicating more effectively with frontline staff;
  • Better performance information for improvement;
  • Improving our nurse record keeping;
  • Continuing to improve incident reporting and the learning we gain from incidents and;
  • Improving the availability of case notes and test results in our Outpatient Departments.


The six themes cover the main areas identified by the CQC – there are other areas as you will see from the action plan.

It is important that all staff are aware of the areas for improvement, but more importantly, what you as individuals and the teams you work with can and must do to contribute. I will be saying more about the changes we are making in the Friday Message, in Staff Briefings and Weekly News. Make it your business to know how you can contribute or ask your line manager if you are unsure. 

I know that, by working better together, we have achieved a lot since the Inspection in February but we need to do more. We need to deliver this plan together – the Board are committed to supporting you through this process. We all owe it to our patients.



One final thought…if our next inspection is on 31 March 2015 (we know it will be within 12 months), we have 242 days to change and make a real difference to our patients. The clock is ticking!


Thank you again for your continued efforts and support.

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 25 July

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Posted by corinnekemp

Time really does seem to pass by quickly at the moment. My week off seems like a long time ago now! I went away for a week and came back to a public campaign asking the Trust not to privatise, or sell off our pharmacy services – which we are not proposing to do.

I won’t repeat all of what Aaron said in his Friday Message. I also don’t want to get into an argument as to what constitutes a tender advert and what doesn’t, but what is a fact, is that as a Trust we are committed to working towards providing safe, high standards of care seven days a week. Our plans to further improve our pharmacy services is part of this.

Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director, NHS England, last year published his ten clinical standards that described the standard of urgent and emergency care all patients should expect seven days a week, each supported by clinical evidence and developed in partnership with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

They describe, for example, how quickly people admitted to hospital should be assessed by a consultant, the diagnostic and scientific services that should always be available, and the process for handovers between clinical teams.

As you will see, services such as pharmacy play a key role in this agenda, as does radiology. I mention radiology as we have shared exciting information this week via Weekly News on our plans in this area.

There are some shocking statistics which have led to seven day services being vital to the health and well-being of our communities. I would like to quote NHS England:

“…significant variation in outcomes for patients admitted to hospitals at the weekend across the NHS in England – a problem affecting most healthcare systems around the world.

This is seen in mortality rates, patient experience, the length of hospital stays and readmission rates. For example, the increased risk of mortality at the weekend could be as high as 11 per cent on a Saturday and 16 per cent on a Sunday, according to an analysis of over 14 million hospital admissions in 2009/10.”

We have significantly improved our overall mortality rates as a Trust and are now considered to be in the ‘expected range’. However as a healthcare system, we can’t continue to tolerate such variations, we must change.

Modernising our outpatient pharmacy services is just one piece in the jigsaw. For those of you that follow my Friday Message and other communications, you will know I’ve been asking you all to consider and start to develop with your leaders how you will address seven day working, and many of you have risen to the challenge.

We do intend to consider proposals from other organisations as to how we can continue to improve our outpatient pharmacy dispensing services. Once we have considered these proposals, we will weigh up the clinical benefits and then make a decision as to which is the right option for our patients based on the expert advice of our clinical leaders. As with any change there is a cost implication. Until we have completed this initial stage of the process we are unable to fully understand the financial benefits or risks, but as with any proposed change to patient services, we will fully assess the risks.

This week we received a petition from the “no health sell off” campaign and I would like to thank them and the public for taking the time to make their feelings known and to show their support of local NHS services.  We wrote last week to the campaign group and invited them to meet with our Chief Pharmacist and her team, and also to tour our pharmacy services and discuss possible future improvements.  We do hope they are able to take us up on this offer.



My executive colleagues are carrying out staff briefing sessions at the moment and will be providing an update on progress with our CQC Improvement Plan (action plan), however I am conscious that not everyone will be able to find the time to attend these sessions and I would like to let you know what we’ve been doing as a team of directors.

Working with your divisional management teams we have created a draft Improvement Plan, clearly stating how we will address the “must do” and “should do” actions shown in our Hospital Inspection reports.

We are, and sadly for the wrong reasons, an organisation that has experience of delivering against regulatory actions plans. Such plans can feel very transactional and a little soulless – it is really important that we don’t see this latest plan as simply going through the motions, we will only be in a worse position in six months time if we do. Any changes we make need to be permanent; therefore we have undertaken a number of additional actions.

We have been developing a three year Quality Improvement Plan for our Trust, creating a framework for making lasting and measurable change, the CQC Improvement Plan will form part of it in year one. I want to ensure that together with the support of our partners, we are all able to make changes that can be sustained well beyond a year and deliver real and meaningful improvements for the benefit of everyone who uses our hospitals.

To support the CQC Improvement Plan, we have created an Improvement Board, who over the next year will have the responsibility of overseeing and contributing to progress and will report directly to our Trust Board.  This has been designed to be an inclusive process and we have asked many of our partners such as the Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England, the patients champion Healthwatch and local authorities to be part of the Improvement Board.

The CQC Improvement Plan is time limited, it has to be, as we need to deliver the improvements at a greater pace and before our next Inspection. To ensure the improvements can be sustained and to tackle some of the long standing issues such as culture, we will also be establishing an Improvement Academy within our Trust.  The Academy will provide support and assistance, helping everyone to fully understand what ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ looks like and providing staff with the tools to achieve it.  This approach will assist with using tried and tested techniques for delivering consistent change.

It was said to me this week that we haven’t chosen the easiest approach to tackling issues, but we have chosen the right approach, and I believe that too. 

The CQC are being very supportive, as are Monitor, but quite rightly, they are also challenging our plans and providing objective input. Over the coming year we will be asked if we feel we are ready to be re-inspected, which I would imagine would be at least another six months away, probably more. It is critical that we do not aim or aspire to come out of special measures to receive a rating of “requires improvement”, the only aspiration we can have is to achieve “good” as a minimum and have a plan to achieve a rating of “outstanding” in time. Even if we achieved “good” we should not be content, as all we will be achieving is a minimum standard.  Therefore, I don’t feel we should look to try to come out of special measures until we are confident our improvements can be fully evidenced and sustained.



I will be writing to all managers in the organisation very shortly to invite them to a Leadership Conference in September. I want to ensure that all leaders are brought up to date on performance, that they understand our priorities for the next two years and are clear on the next stage of our overall clinical strategy, better care together.

I believe this further clarity will assist all staff. I want your leaders to be able to come back and brief you, so we are all be “on the same page” in respect of where we are going and how we are going to get there.

Space is always limited at such events, and not all managers will be able to make it I know, however managers should pencil in Monday 22 September into their diaries, further details will follow.



Thank you to everyone that responded to Phil regarding my request to join a Trust wide communications group. I am not sure if it was the offer of cake or not, but we have been very pleased at the response! We have good representation from many areas of the Trust, with a lot of new names, but we would like to see an even wider membership, especially from our clinical staff.  This is your opportunity to get involved, influence and shape how we communicate with you all.  Please drop Phil a line ( if you would like to join the groups. You don’t have to attend every meeting, but any input, even if it is by email will be very much appreciated and welcomed.



It has been really pleasing to receive emails from a number of departments inviting me to come and spend time with them. I am now planning my diary with my team to fit them all in and look forward to spending even more time out and about in our departments and wards.

Thank you again for your continued efforts and support.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 18 July

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Posted by corinnekemp

The Friday Message

Jackie is taking a well-earned break this week, so I hope I don’t let her down with my thoughts for the Friday message!

We have seen a lot of speculation and talk in the last couple of weeks about the hospital’s development plans, and I want to use my message this week to discuss our proposals for pharmacy improvement.

Our early-stage plans for changing the way we do things have led to concerns that we plan a major outsourcing and privatisation of the whole service. Let me reassure you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. We are not proposing any “sell-off” of these services, nor would the proposals mean any job losses among our existing pharmacy staff. 

In fact, this is a really exciting, positive and important piece of work, focussed entirely on patients.

We are indeed proposing to work with a commercial pharmacy partner, but they would only co-ordinate dispensing of medicines to patients from outpatients, day case and A&E during daytime hours. But the benefit they would bring by taking on this small amount of work would, we think, be felt right across the Trust, and make a huge difference to our patients.

No-one in pharmacy would lose their job – they would instead be able to concentrate on their core priority – providing medication and expert information on medicines prescribing for inpatients and patients who are being discharged. We know that good patient flow and timely discharge are key challenges for us as we continue to see increasing activity, and these proposals would, if implemented, be designed to improve those processes.

Freedom for pharmacists to spend more time on wards will also help reduce prescribing and medication errors. Their on-the-scene expertise will help make sure each patient gets the most appropriate medicine for their own unique needs, first time, every time, reducing their risk of harm and speeding up their recovery.

A large number of NHS Trusts work with commercial pharmacy partners to provide outpatient dispensing services. Evidence from neighbouring trusts suggests the change could halve waiting times for outpatient medications, as well as significantly speeding up take-at-home medicines provided by the Trust for inpatients leaving hospital.

It’s all good stuff, but it is still in its earliest stages - so far, we have begun to establish a list of potential providers, who, in principle, could improve the current outpatients dispensing service, improve patient experience and provide value for money. We are not yet even at the stage of publishing a formal tender, but we will keep you informed of our progress.

We are in the midst of a time of great change, for NHS services right across England as well as in the Morecambe Bay area. Our continuing journey of improvement is set against a background of a drive for modernisation and change across the whole of the NHS, based on better technology, better organisation and integration between different types of health service, and more preventative care outside hospital.

We have a great deal of work going on, much of it involving a number of different NHS organisations with projects set to last a number of years. Against this background, it is inevitable that misinformation and speculation reach the public domain.

For example, in the last two years we have seen:

  • Headlines claiming plans to close A&E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and campaigns to block those plans, despite the Chief Executive’s personal written assurances that no such proposal had ever been made.
  • Speculation that the Trust intended to build a new “super-hospital” in Kendal. Again, no such proposal had been made.
  • A large-scale campaign against closure of Westmorland General Hospital, despite constant, official statements from the hospital that there have never been any plans to close the site.


Such rumours and headlines do have a real effect on our patients, who can easily be confused or frightened by misleading or simply false information. We owe it to those people to ensure they hear the real story, and we as an executive team owe it to you to ensure you are kept fully up to date with all the latest, and that we are here to answer any questions you may have.


Aaron Cummins
Deputy Chief Executive/ Director of Finance

Friday Message - 4 July

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Last week was quite intense for the Trust following the publication of our hospital inspection reports. I know from the many conversations I’ve had with staff that there are a lot of mixed feelings across the organisation. It is important that we now dust ourselves down, pick each other up and move on. Our concentration now needs to be on continuing our journey of improvement, finalising the action plan for the reports and making the sustained change that needs to be made.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the CQC report discussion sessions this week. We are collecting all of the questions and will arrange for a Q&A to be shared with you all.

Since the publication of the reports a lot has happened and it is important that we maintain the pace and momentum that we have built up this year. The draft Improvement Action Plan for the reports is just about ready to be shared with our regulators and partners. Divisional teams have been involved in the creation of the plan and will now start the planning to implement them. Once finalised, they will be shared with you all and published on our website.

As previously outlined, on the 30 June the Trust submitted a summary of its five year plans to Monitor, together with the high level strategy detail of better care together. The better care together strategy will now be examined by NHS England and Monitor and we expect that discussions will continue over the summer. In the meantime it is our intention, starting with the staff briefings at the end of the month to begin to outline to you all the elements of the strategy and the possible next steps.

It is critical that we don’t take our foot off the gas with our existing plans as summarised on our Plan on a Page ( We need to maintain confidence with the public, partners and regulators that we can deliver on our existing promises. As a result of your hard work, we finished last year with a number of key indicators being met, such as achieving the cost improvement targets, through to the A&E 4 hour standard. As a result, there are a lot of expectations on the organisation to continue to achieve this level of improvement.

We will not be able to deliver this year’s plans without the input of everyone pulling in the same direction. I am currently concerned as I feel we have slipped back in the area of staff feeling empowered to make change. When I joined our Trust I detected early on that there was a deep desire amongst the workforce to change and improve, but for whatever historical reason, many of you felt that you didn’t have the authority or permission to act. I am starting to detect this feeling again – a culture of looking to the most senior person in a division, sometimes an executive director to agree certain changes that will benefit patients and staff. Of course, there are occasions where the Board does need to be involved, and divisional management teams are well aware when this is necessary.

We employ a lot of talented and experienced people in a wide range of roles at all levels. With each role comes a clear set of responsibilities, it is important now that we shake off the feeling of not being empowered to make change, you are.

I am not naïve enough to think it is just that simple and tomorrow, everyone will go forward and change an area that has frustrated them, there are many good reasons why some change isn’t yet possible – however you should challenge back if you are not satisfied with the reasons you are given for not being able to do so.   I met this week with the Clinical Leadership Team and I know that they want to support you and will be behind you to deliver these improvements.

Please let me know if you feel you are unable to make change where it is needed, and likewise, I would also be very pleased to hear about the improvements you have made, however small – they are all important.

A number of you will have already been involved in the weekly Wednesday morning patient summits where current, live incidents are discussed, together with learning points and further action taken where needed. This a great example of a change in culture taking place across the organisation. It is led by Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse and George Nasmyth, Medical Director. The summits bring together clinicians from right across the Trust, with those that can’t attend in person are able to dial in and take part.

The weekly summit allows for immediate change to take place when needed. I would like to thank everyone who takes part in this; it is a good example of how we are working as a team across the Trust for the benefit of our patients. I will arrange for one of the summit meetings to be written up as an article and shared with everyone (patient details removed).

I wanted to share this good practice with you all as an exemplar of how each week a group of colleagues come together for the benefit of patients and staff, review incidents and ensure we learn from them. No manager has the answer to all of the questions or problems within an area, but they do have the authority and ability to pull their teams together, from right across the Trust to review an issue and make the changes needed. “Two heads are better than one”, clichéd I know, but in some departments we employ hundreds of people who together, can make the improvements needed.

Remember, within your teams you do have the power to make the changes needed. There are people within the organisation who are employed to support you and provide advice and guidance.


Drop me a line, what are you going to change this month?

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 27 June

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

Firstly, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the incredible messages of support that many members of the team received yesterday and over the last couple of weeks. It doesn’t matter what your title is, it is nice to be recognised and supported, thank you. It has also been incredibly touching to have members of the public ring up and pass on their positive experiences and messages of support following articles they have read in the press.

Over the course of yesterday, members of the executive team have provided interviews to the media and I am sure this will continue for a little while longer, I do hope that you feel we are coming across ok and representing you well?

I was pleased yesterday morning to be able to spend some time with a number of our nurses and other staff and I can sense the uncertainty as to what’s next in terms of the leadership for our Trust and what exactly special measures means.

Let me get the question about my future out of the way. I came to this job, as did my other Board colleagues with our eyes open to the challenges we faced. We have all come a long way together with making improvements for everyone who uses our hospitals, and there is still much more to do. I intend to stay and see the job through with you all as part of my team – I do believe that we are all making a difference and I am incredibly proud to work alongside such talented people who quite rightly, have been praised by the CQC as being caring.

It is important to let you know that Cumbria and Lancashire North CCGs are behind us as our commissioners. I have shared a copy of their public responses to the reports below. The relationship that has been built up with the CCGs, local GPs and many other partners has not come about by chance. It is as a result of all us working much more collaboratively and open with them and I know this approach is appreciated by them all.

I also want to clarify our position with Monitor, the regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.  Monitor, like our CCGs must hold the Trust to account for the safe delivery of services, that is absolutely correct. Monitor has been clear with the Trust that they want us to succeed, with the current Trust Board in place. This message was also shared with the CQC and other health partners at the Quality Summit we attended last Friday.

Special measures means that Monitor will now work the Trust on a package of support, helping us to move at a pace which will see a number of improvements come about quicker than we might normally expect. This will include the appointment of an Improvement Director by Monitor, whose role will be to provide support and expertise, but also to hold the Trust to account. In addition, there are opportunities for the Trust to potentially buddy with another, more successful Acute Trust. Working together with Monitor, the CQC and our partners, we will develop our action plan which will also be published and shared with all staff, governors and the public.  As I have more information on special measures, I will of course share it with you all as soon as I can. Please don’t see this action as a punitive measure, it isn’t meant to be, it is to assist us.

You will have read in the communication this week from the Chair and myself that we have been developing plans for an Improvement Board and also an Improvement Academy and I look forward to discussing this with you over the coming weeks in further detail.

Some areas of our Trust have been rated as good and others less so. To be a high performing trust, we need to work as one large team and harness a collective responsibility for change, in all areas.  Looking at the reports, we clearly have best practice of our own taking place, it is important that we share this learning across the organisation too.

I remain confident that with your help, we can continue to work together and finish what we’ve started. I know from the many conversations I’ve had this week that many staff feel low, especially after the recent speculation and then receiving the reports, it can feel exhausting. Keep supporting each other – it is at times like this when we need each other and right now, my Board and I feel supported by you all and recognise the trust you have put in us, thank you.

Please keep in touch with me, I do read and respond to your emails and messages.


Kind regards

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive


Dr Alex Gaw, Chair, NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): 

"As a local GP, I know that aspects of the report will, for many of our patients, be unsettling but I wish to assure them that we are working closely with the Trust to continually enhance the safety and experience of hospital services, recognising that clinical involvement and leadership is key to sustaining this improvement. We should not lose sight of the vast amount of work that has been undertaken to improve hospital ratings - this work reflects the good progress that is being made at the Trust but we aren't complacent and recognise that there is still more work needed.

“Doctors, nurses and staff from across the hospital trust have been working incredibly hard, together with the CCG and GPs, to develop a clear plan for the future of health and care across Morecambe Bay. This commitment has come with clear support and direction from the leadership of the hospitals, showing a real change in culture from a number of years ago.

Dr Hugh Reeve, Chair, Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): 

"Whilst everyone is disappointed at the overall rating, I do believe that the individual hospital ratings reflect the good progress made to improve services over the last two years. Both CCGs have been working in partnership with the Trust to develop a clear strategy for the future, today's report from the CQC highlights the urgent need for this work to continue to ensure patients receive the very best standards of care for generations to come.

"I believe it is important that we recognise the good progress made by the hardworking, professional staff and leadership in our local hospitals. I believe that there is still a lot to do to ensure we have hospital services up there with the best in the country and the CCG is committed to working with the hospital Trust to achieve this. We now have a hospital Trust that works in partnership with its local GPs and has put doctors and nurses in charge of services, demonstrating a much improved culture of putting the patient first."

CQC Hospital Inspection Quality Report

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Posted by corinnekemp

Responses to the Care Quality Commission's findings following its publication on 26 June 2014 of the Trust's Hospital Inspection Reports.

Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust:

We are all incredibly disappointed to receive the overall rating for the Trust. The reports reflect the fact that we are part-way through a process of significant improvement which is still going to take a number of years to complete. It isn’t an overnight job to change the culture of a large complex organisation but through the hard work and commitment of our staff, governors and partners, our hospitals are now much safer, with improved standards of care in a number of areas from two years ago when we started to turn them around.

I believe that ‘special measures’ will provide the Trust with focused support to make further change in a number of core areas, and we welcome this assistance. We will use these reports as the spring board for further, positive improvement. I believe it is essential that we address the issues we face as a local health community for the benefit of our patients, collaborating with each other across the NHS in an even more determined and targeted way, something we’ve done to good effect already with maternity and A&E services.

Over the last two years we have seen significant improvements in areas such as mortality, staffing levels, A&E, complaints management, maternity, record keeping and appointments, many of which are recognised in these reports. It isn’t all fixed and there is much more to do but I am confident that we have progressed, although at times not at the pace needed.

There are a number areas highlighted that need urgent attention, particularly in our medicine division. It is clear that some aspects of safety and quality within this division were not meeting acceptable standards. It isn’t good enough; the CQC standards should be seen as the minimum standard of achievement. Our priority must always be the safety of everyone who uses our hospitals; therefore it is alarming to receive such a poor rating in these areas.

It is important that we recognise the positives aspects of the reports, such as the dedication, care and compassion for patients demonstrated by staff right across our hospitals. I’m not surprised Hospital Inspectors witnessed such good levels of care - I see this too when I visit our wards and departments. I am pleased that the CQC has reported this level of caring and I would like to praise staff for having this high standard of care recognised.

The CQC has reported that overall, risks to patient safety and quality were often as a result of staffing and recruitment difficulties. This is an area that has seen good improvement over the last year, with over 130 direct front line staff now in post. Nursing vacancy levels across our hospitals have also been below the regional average for a number of months now. We have recently introduced cohort recruitment, rather than waiting for people to leave, we are now proactively recruiting for future vacancies. We’ve also committed to over recruiting when needed. If we have vacancies for five new nurses and we interview seven suitable candidates then where we can, we will take on all seven of them.

As a leadership team, we are committed to seeing this journey through. We have rebuilt the leadership team which has taken time but I felt it was important that we got the right people. We only wanted the best people who will see us through to the next stage and I believe we now have this. I am personally determined to ensure we take this report and learn from it. I am confident that together with our partners, we have an emerging strategy through the ‘better care together’ programme to transform health and care services across Morecambe Bay.”


Friday Message -19 June

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

As weeks go, this has certainly been a lively one.  I’ve thought long and hard about what to say this week over the comments in the media. I think a lot has already been said and written and I feel my messages last Friday and earlier this week on the matter of the forthcoming Hospital Inspection report still stand and nothing has really changed, despite what has been reported. 

On Monday this week somebody decided to share with the media a draft copy of one of the Hospital reports. I don’t know who did it, or which organisation they work for, but I believe what they did was wrong. Not to me, but to the thousands of staff we employ, our hundreds of volunteers who give up their time every day and also the public. Everyone connected with our hospitals has had to endure a week of speculation and rumour about the future of our hospitals without having the information for themselves to read and ask questions.  This isn’t whistleblowing, this isn’t the action of someone who is concerned about protecting the safety of patients or staff – what they’ve done is the opposite, they’ve caused unnecessary stress and worry.

I said last week that if you feel your story of improvement isn’t being told, then let me know and we will support you. I didn’t have to wait long! This week we’ve seen a number of nurses and doctors step up to the plate and undertake interviews with the TV. I know from personal experience when work is pressured and your back is up against the wall, the easiest thing to do is retreat and close the door, when in fact, the best thing to do is get out there and calmly and professionally join together and tell people your side of the story.  

Being interviewed for the media can be really intrusive, that isn’t the fault of the media, it is just because of what is involved.  It can take many hours to film for a 30 second slot on the news and then it isn’t even the 30 seconds you hoped would be played!  However it does allow staff to show how open they are and get over their messages, yes there is always a risk and it doesn’t always go to plan. I would like to say thank you to everyone involved in the filming this week, I feel very proud that you chose to represent us all, well done.


Sunday morning brought some very welcome news, Professor Anne Garden, one of our Non-Executive Directors was honoured by the Queen with an MBE for her services to medical education. Anne, who is also Head of the Medical School at Lancaster University, has been a member of the Trust Board for two years. 

On behalf of the Trust Board, I would like to congratulate Anne on her much deserved honour, we are all very proud of her. I know how committed and passionate she is about the provision of high quality medical education and her crucial role in establishing the Lancaster Medical School.


Each year the NHS undertakes a staff survey.  This involves random groups of NHS staff receiving a questionnaire, which can also be quite long. The national survey provides a very useful snap shot of the views and feelings of staff at a point in time, in a similar way the annual in-patient survey does.

The Trust is seeing really good improvement in patient satisfaction levels and through the many initiatives that we’ve implemented, such as ‘I want great care’ we can measure them on a regular basis and take improvement action when needed.  We now want to adopt a similar approach for staff.

We can’t afford to wait a year to find out if your experiences of being a staff member have approved. Nothing replaces managers and supervisors sitting down with their colleague and taking the time to talk to them. However it is very useful to capture staff views and experiences across the Trust on a regular basis, providing a much broader picture.  Using questionnaires helps us to better understand where we need to concentrate our efforts to make improvements for the benefit of us all.

I would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete a short survey to help us understand your views today. You can access the survey via the straff intranet: http://uhmb/cd/commsmarketing/public.

Hard copies of the survey are also being sent to those members of staff who cannot easily access a computer.


I will leave you all with a thought this week about acceptable standards, as it is an area that we will need to constantly revisit if we truly believe we can be one of the best providers of healthcare in the country. Have you ever walked past a piece of litter in our hospitals without picking it up? Ever found a hand gel dispenser empty and not arranged to have it filled? Ever found a bin overflowing outside the hospital on a Saturday night? Ever walked past a visitor unsure where a department is and didn’t stop and offer help? There is an old saying “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”, what standards do you accept at work?

While the press continue to speculate about our future because of a leaked draft report, I would be interested in your views on a particular question. As you know the CQC now issue ratings to hospitals. The ratings range from outstanding, through to good, requires improvement and inadequate. The press has ran stories saying that we may be rated as inadequate and I will respond to you all and share my views once a final report is published and a formal rating issued. If that proves to be the case, I am not satisfied with the Trust working towards a ‘requires improvement’ rating.  Surely ‘good’ must be the minimum level to aim for.  So my question to you is, in your areas, do you all know what ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ looks like?  

Do you think you provide it now, and if so why?  Over the coming weeks and months we will be building on our vision and values and I believe it is crucial that individually as employees, departments and divisions, you have your own vision of what it would mean to be outstanding, and how you are going to achieve it?

Please drop me a line, I am extremely interested in hearing your views. 

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 13 June

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

You will know from previous communications that we are expecting the publication of the CQC Hospital Inspection Report in the next few weeks. The announcement of the Chairman standing down and the fact that we are currently recruiting for George Nasmyth’s replacement have been linked to a negative CQC Inspection report and this has led to a number of speculative stories about a whole range of things.

It is interesting how quickly the issues of the past and wave of negativity gain momentum. We featured on regional TV news this week, it was all very factual, but nothing about any current failure or issues, just ‘what might be’. This will give you all an idea of the scrutiny we all remain under. We are at an important point – we have made demonstrable improvements in safety, quality, financially and against our required operational performance. However we have much further to go.

We have been working hard with our commissioners and partners to design a health and social care model across the Morecambe Bay area which will deliver high quality, efficient care. Better care together, the strategic plan will be complete by the end of this month. However this signals the beginning to what I think will be a three to five year plan to transform acute, community and primary care across the Bay. It has the potential to radically improve the experience and outcome from the services delivered. It also has the potential to secure the delivery of health care provision for the future. However it relies on a number of things – these include great leadership which is sustained over the medium to longer term, it will require the right culture and staff at all levels buying into this, it will require all of us, MPs, partners and the general public supporting our local services.

The Chairman, for those of you who know him, is indeed his own person and it was his decision (I suspect his wife had more than a small influence!) to step down. He has made a huge contribution over the Last 17 months and I am very grateful for that. However he recognised that right now we need a chair who can fully commit to leading the organisation to deliver the ambitions of better care together.

George Nasmyth and I have been having similar conversations. George committed to leading the Trust through a remarkably difficult period, but for a fixed period. He and I agree that we should appoint a Medical Director who will lead better care together for the next period and George has agreed to support the incoming Medical Director recruitment process and stay with us a little while after to assist with a smooth handover. Essentially it is just good succession planning.

So my request of you, as we enter what may feel like a turbulent couple of weeks at times is:

1. Understand that others may put 2 and 2 together and get 6. 

2. If you are unsure use the rumour line and ask, you can always speak to any member of the executive team too.

3. Support your leaders – it is important when things are going well, but even more important in tough times. And all remember, leadership comes at all levels, it isn’t based on pay band or job titles.

4. Take the time to read the reports fully when they are published, look beyond the headlines and make your own mind up

5. If you feel your journey of improvement isn’t being heard, tell me. We will assist you to share your story with the wider world, including speaking to the press.

6. Let’s get behind our vision and values to make our hospitals great places to be cared for; and great places to work.

The improvements you are all making are growing in number and depth – but this scale of change does take many years and it is important that we continue our efforts.

It is all too easy to jettison the plan and switch leader – all the evidence points to the fact that stable leadership and setting and delivering strategies are all key.

I am continuing to receive feedback about how we could best share the Hospital Inspection Report and our response to it once it is published. I aim next week to share dates and times for staff to meet with their clinical leaders to discuss the reports, by site in greater detail. These sessions will be a week or so after the report has been published to allow everyone time to digest them and review diaries to attend a session. In addition, the executive team will ensure we remain out and about around our hospitals to support you and discuss any aspects of the reports.

I’ve been asked is there a way we can share the reports before they are published, unfortunately we will not see the final report and ratings until the CQC has held their Quality Summit in the coming weeks.


I am noticing a growing number of staff ‘talking’ in their personal capacity on social media about the Trust. Yes we have a duty not to discuss or share personal and private details of patients and staff, but what I have noticed is the pride so many staff are taking in sharing positive examples of improvement and engagement in their areas. This week we’ve seen a live web chat with the public on diabetes by our clinicians – this is great progress and compliments the health seminars now taking place throughout the year.  Well done to you all, it can be difficult at times, especially on twitter with only 140 characters, but I do feel immensely proud to read your posts.

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

Friday Message - 6 June

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


I wanted to let you all know that George Nasmyth, our Medical Director has decided to step down from his role and as a result, we will shortly start to advertise for his replacement.  
As many of you will know, George joined the Board as the Interim Medical Director whilst we made important changes to ensure services were safe, and then joined the Board as a permanent member a little while after.

George is a valued and respected member of the team and I would like to put on record my thanks for his support and contribution over the last two years. It hasn’t been an easy time and George, like a lot of others has given up a good deal of his personal time to help us move forward, particularly with the better care together programme which has taken up many an evening and weekend.
I am pleased that George will be staying in post whilst we recruit his successor and assist with a smooth handover to the new Medical Director.

In line with our vision, it is essential that clinicians and governors have the opportunity to influence our recruitment decision and I am planning to hold a stakeholder event as part of the selection process, which looks likely to be at the end of July. Details will be circulated once they are confirmed, but I wanted to give you an early ‘heads-up’.  If you would like to discuss this, please feel free to contact me.

For those of you that know George, you will know he is a passionate and talented photographer, I am hoping that once he has handed over the reins he will be able to spend more time getting out and about around our stunning counties with his camera.


Like any large institution, the National Health Service has a national gathering where staff from all parts of the NHS, right across the country can get together each year to discuss issues and share best practice. This year the conference is in Liverpool and has been taking place Wednesday to Friday of this week. The conference is organised by the NHS Confederation, an independent body which represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services.

I had the pleasure of attending the opening talks which were given by Simon Stevens, the new NHS England Chief Executive, Rob Webster, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, and Sir Stuart Rose, NHS Advisor and former Chief Executive of Marks and Spencer.

Sir Stuart Rose has been asked by the Secretary of State to advise later this year on how the leadership in the NHS can be better supported, especially for those trusts that need it most. I was personally very energized to listen to them all talk.

Rob quoted a poem by a blogger called Adam Bojelian, which brought a round of applause and a real focus on what leadership really is. Rob’s overall theme was the need for hope and positivity within the NHS.

I wanted to share Adam’s poem with you, which you can also find on his blog site:


Rob’s speech recognised that the 2015 Challenge Declaration from the NHS Confederation is the base-line assessment of where we are. The future will require engaged local leadership and some freedoms from above. You can find out more about the 2015 Challenge from their website:

In his speech, Rob set out a vision for the future and some possible ‘asks’ to get us there. He suggested we might ask for:

•    a 10 year funding settlement for health to take money off the table, so we can focus on change;
•    £2bn for a transition fund, to help the NHS move to new, more sustainable models of care;
•    a commitment to parity of esteem for physical and mental health;
•    speeding up of payment reform;
•    bringing clarity to the FT pipeline timescales and purpose;
•    a genuine focus on seeing people as assets with a sector led programme.
There was a ‘call for action’ from Rob and a request for the NHS to let him know what the Confederation should be asking of politicians and policy makers.

It was my first time to listen to Simon Stevens live since he took up post in April this year.  I know I’ve said it before, but the more I read and listen to the new NHS England Chief Executive, the more reassured I am that our plans for better care together is following national thinking.

Simon was clear in that he wants to speed up the redesign of care delivery and also provide “far greater local flexibility” in services, structure and system rules. He went onto say that the NHS needed to stop working in silos between primary, secondary and community services and work much more collaboratively.  This is important, as our future transformational plans will require a lot of energy and pace and as I’ve previously said, we will need to start to relook at the ‘rule book’ as a lot of what we are doing is on a new scale and we can’t be precious about traditional, organisational barriers.

You may have read recently about his message regarding district general hospitals and this was reiterated at the conference, stating there will be times when services needed to be brought together, but there would also be times when a redesign is required to make DGHs more feasible as an offering.
It was clear from his speech that there is still a lot more to come this year.  There will be a more “hard-nosed review” of incentive schemes, such as quality and innovation, a five year forward look published in the Autumn outlining the sort of models of care that could succeed and also greater involvement of the third sector.

The annual conference is an effective opportunity for me as a Chief Executive to be able to meet my peers from across the NHS and discuss with them their successes and challenges, I have to say that this year, despite the difficulties that we all face, there was a buzz about the place and a sense of optimism.


Thank you to the feedback that I received following the email I sent earlier in the week regarding the forthcoming CQC report and how we can best share and discuss the report once it is published.  Please do not hesitate to drop me a line; I have received comments around creating a Q&A through to how we might share the key messages from the reports. I do read them all.


We are nearing the end of June 2014, our target for creating the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for better care together. The SOC is our headline proposal as a local health economy as to how we propose to change healthcare across South Cumbria and North Lancashire, ensuring the local population have safe, high quality services which can be sustained well into the future.

Before this take place, there will be a further stakeholder event on Saturday 21 June 2014, 10am – 1.30pm in Kendal. This is an event by invite, which will also include governor, volunteer and patient representation.

The event seeks to help attendees:

•    Understand in broad terms why change is needed and how an options development and evaluation process works for health services reconfiguration;
•    Find out why certain healthcare options may be unviable;
•    See the feedback from our engagement to date and how this has influenced the thinking of our clinicians ;
•    Look at the possible scenarios for future healthcare in and out of hospitals;
•    Find out more about health service reconfiguration and provide a patient and public a “sense check” on our work to date;
•    Ask questions to the clinicians who have been developing proposals.  

This event will be facilitated by an independent company called Participate who will produce a report capturing the feedback from the day.

I have requested that a similar opportunity is also made available for our staff and the better care together team is looking at how they can facilitate this.  However if as a staff member you would like to attend, then please contact Sophy Stewart ( who will be happy to assist. This is another good opportunity to receive up to date information on the programme and to share it with your colleagues.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 30 May

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


As promised last week, I am now pleased to update everyone on our new vision and values. As a relatively new Board of Directors, we felt that the time was right last year to review our vision and values, enabling the Board to be clear on the direction of the Trust.

As a Board we designed a draft vision and set of values to take into account comments we picked up from staff as we visited wards and departments as to what they wanted for the future too. Between January and March this year we gave all staff, governors and volunteers the opportunity to further shape and comment on this draft work. I want to say thank you to everyone who took part, such as attending one of the workshops, completing a reply card from the ‘value stands’ that were in each of our hospitals, or by responding to the many articles in Weekly News.

All of the comments were read and as a result, the Trust Board this week approved a new vision and set of values.  We were very pleased, but not surprised that many people expressed that they wanted the vision and values to be more ambitious and specific. In addition, a comment we have heard before and during this process is that many staff would like the Trust to adopt a short strap line that encompasses our vision and values, we have therefore also approved the strap line of “A great place to be cared for; a great place to work.”  We can never forget that we are here for our patients, and they must be central to everything we do, however it is equally important that our staff and volunteers are recognised and I believe that the vision, values and strap line put patients and staff at the heart of everything we do.

On behalf of the Trusts Board, I am proud to present to you, OUR vision and values:

Our vision

We will constantly provide the highest possible standards of compassionate care and the very best patient and staff experience. We will listen to and involve our patients, staff and partners.

Our values

Patients: Our patients will be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. Their experience is our most important measure of achievement.

People: Our staff and volunteers are the ones who make a difference. They understand and share our values and this is reflected in their work.

Partnerships: Our partnerships make us strong. By investing in them, we will deliver the best possible care to our communities.

Performance: Our performance drives our organisation. Providing consistently safe, high quality care is how we define ourselves and our success.

Progress: Our progress will be improved through innovation, education, research and technology to meet the challenges of the future.

Words are all very good, and we can pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, but they won’t mean much unless we actually live and uphold them in our work.  It is easy to be cynical about such work; I recently received comments from a small number of staff, unsigned, as to what a waste of money and time this sort of work is, as they do this already. As a reply, I believe the vast of majority of our staff do fantastic work every day, in some really challenging and emotional circumstances. However, as the Chief Executive I still have to read and sign off responses to complaints from patients where we have failed them and we haven’t provided high standards of compassionate care, I also still have to challenge colleagues as to why some staff feel the non-negotiable rules around hand hygiene do not apply to them? I would say to those staff members that have objected to our recent sharing of the 6Cs and developing these values that it is incumbent on us all to lead by example, rather than sniping and commenting from the side-lines. 

As well as arranging for the vision and values over the coming weeks to be displayed across our five sites, we will also be making other important changes such as ensuring the values form part of our recruitment and appraisal process.  As always, we will keep you updated as to progress and involve you in this work.


The vision and values essentially serves two key purposes:

o    To provide a clear direction for the organisation, what we are trying to achieve; and
o    To state how we should behave towards each other, patients and others.
What it doesn’t do is provide the detail of how we are going to get there! To help you all, we have created a “Plan on a Page”.  The aim was to try to put in one place, the following:

•    Where we are going (Our vision)
•    How we will behave and act (Our values)
•    The goals we want to achieve (Our corporate objectives)
•    How we are going to achieve our objectives (Our plans, such as the Annual Plan)
If you follow these weekly messages, or attend the staff briefings, many of the items on the Plan on a Page will not be a surprise to you.  The top of the page is our vision, values and objectives, and below them our headline priorities. That’s not to say there are not more, but these are the ones we want to bring to everyone’s attention, as they often form part of our weekly discussions. Behind the headline priorities sit a number of plans and strategies which provides further detail.  For example we have shared with everyone on a number of occasions our intentions towards improving our estates and a strategy is being developed to support this.

The challenge with producing such a document is someone in the Trust will be disappointed that their area isn’t mentioned, please look again! We are all responsible for the actions, for example 7 day working, infection prevention and cost improvement I would argue impact on us all. As we start to work 24 x 7 across a wider range of services, how are departments getting ready to gear up and support them? Our clinicians will need supplies, records, cleaning, food, IT support etc., at all times of the day. Essentially ensuring services are based around the needs of the patient. It isn’t going to be easy, but it will be immensely satisfying as we start to see improvements to patient outcomes as a result, we must hold that in our minds.

The plan on the page, vision and values are currently all being printed and will start to appear right across our hospitals.

We have created a webpage ( where you can download a copy of the plan on a page and we will start to add any supporting documentation to this page too.

We will update the Plan on a Page later this year to represent a 5 year period, and at that time discuss with you all in greater detail.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 23 May

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Posted by corinnekemp

This is a copy of my “Friday Message”. As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

As with many large complex organisations, it is all too easy to concentrate on our own areas and not regularly think about some of the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep our hospitals functioning 24/7. I am quite sure that this isn’t intentional, probably more a testament to the high standard of work that ensures our support services work away ‘quietly’ in the background. I spent some time this week in our switchboard at WGH. If in the future anyone ever says to me that all this team do is “answer calls” then I would challenge them to take the time to also understand these important roles a bit more. I would never take any of our staff for granted, but collectively, we do possibly take this service a little for granted at times. They are the virtual “face” of the Trust, for many of our patients and visitors they will be the first voice they hear when they call us and therefore have a crucial role to play in the experience of our patients.

It was an interesting and welcoming visit, and I’ve come away with a number of areas that need to be explored further. Firstly their accommodation at WGH isn’t good enough, there are plans for them to move into a much more modern and welcoming environment and I look forward to this taking place in weeks, not months. The team also explained to me the challenge they and patients face when changes are made to clinics and the switchboard are not updated, particularly at weekends. It is really important that this team are considered in departmental communication activities, ensuring they are kept in the loop and informed as to any changes that may affect them. I am quite sure they would welcome departments calling in to see them to ensure we are all working as one large team with the patient at the centre. I am looking forward to next week as I want to spend a bit more time with them including taking some of the calls and trying out the technology first hand.

Thank you to the switchboard team – your work is very much appreciated.

Staying on the theme of 24×7, I’ve mentioned a few times via these emails of developments around 7 day working. At the heart of the 7 day agenda is patients, in some cases they may be receiving a reduced level of care at the weekends. This subject featured on the executive directors meeting agenda this week.  We spent a good deal of time on Tuesday discussing plans for an initial solution to 7 day working in acute medicine at the RLI and FGH.  The plans centre around shortfalls in weekend consultant provision and to provide staffing levels consistent with the Society for Acute Medicine guidelines. Such a change will see patients reviewed at weekends and decisions about their care made. This is something that needs to take place to ensure outcomes are improved for our patients. The divisional leadership team are going to finalise these initial plans for further consideration and I hope to be able to formally confirm them in a matter of weeks.

Last year the Trust Board started to review the vision and values of the organisation.  We believe that it is important that everyone who works in our hospitals, as well as our stakeholders are clear about our direction of travel, what we stand for and the types of behaviours and actions we should all display. Between January and March this year, together with the Staff Side Chair, we invited all staff, governors and volunteers to take part in a number of activities and provide feedback and comment on the proposed new vision and values.  The activities ranged from completing reply cards to attending discussion groups with a member of the Trust Board. I am delighted that so many of you, from all different parts of the Trust voted with your feet and pens and got involved, thank you!  The feedback and suggestions have been incredibly helpful; we have read every single comment. As a result, I hope you will be pleased to know that we have now created a revised vision, which is much shorter, as well as revising the values where appropriate.  The vision and values will be presented to next week’s Trust Board for final approval and I will update you following this.

The experience of our patients is one of our most important measures of achievement. For those of you not familiar, the NHS friends and family test gives patients further opportunity to provide feedback on the care and treatment they receive whilst in our hospitals. It was introduced in 2013 and asks patients whether they would recommend hospital wards, A&E departments and maternity services to their friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment. This means every patient in these wards and departments is able to give feedback on the quality of the care they receive, giving hospitals a better understanding of the needs of their patients and enabling improvements. Going forward the test will be open to everyone using any NHS services, including staff.

The data I want to share with you today represents the feedback from over 9000 of our patients between October and May 2014.  Thank you to everyone involved in achieving this.  I see the hard work and professionalism from all of our staff every day and feel confident we will continue to see it improve.

Friends and Family Test Results



















Next Wednesday is the Trust Board meeting and is being held at WGH. As always, members of the public and staff are very welcome to attend, further information can be found on the Trust website (, or by contacting our Company Secretary, Paul Jones (ext. 46684).  For those of us who are off work for the long weekend, I am sure you will all join me in paying tribute to all of our staff who will be hard at work in our hospitals caring for patients, answering phones, cleaning wards and cooking meals and so on…you are all doing a fantastic job, thank you.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message 16th May

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Posted by woodfordp

Many of you will know that Jackie is on leave this week; however I wanted to share with you a number of key items. A little shorter than normal, however the videos I want to share with you will make up for it.


Jackie has talked recently about bullying and harassment and how it must not be tolerated, in whatever form across our organisation and I would like to echo this message. The support the Trust can provide isn’t just about such instances between staff, but also where members of the public may verbally abuse or physically assault anyone working in our hospitals.

This week, with the approval of the member of staff involved, we have shared with the media details regarding an abusive member of the public who has now been found guilty of using threatening, homophobic and abusive language towards a member of our staff.

It must have been incredibly difficult for the member of staff to speak out and I would like to praise them for doing so.  I am aware they were unsure about involving the police after the incident which left them feeling anxious and upset.

The case was dealt with by the Magistrates court where the member of public received a 180 hour community order, £100 court cost and £100 compensation.

If you need any help in raising the alarm where you believe anyone’s safety is compromised, please do not hesitate to let your manager know. In addition, I know that any of my executive colleagues would also be pleased to assist you.



Thank you to everyone who recently attended the executive director led staff briefings.
The staff briefings are designed for members of the executive team to update staff on performance, but with a focus on the future, together with the opportunity for staff to ask questions. They are a supplement to the monthly team briefings which focus on current issues and performance.

As Jackie mentioned some weeks ago, at each quarterly briefing we will now record one of them and share it with you as we all appreciate how busy you all are. I was chosen as the first director to feature on this round of recordings, like most people I don’t like to see myself on camera, I am convinced it has put at least 10lbs on me, I will let you be the judge of that!

We aim to have the video on the staff intranet by Monday and will share the link in Weekly News. In the meantime, you can watch it on our YouTube channel:

We appreciate that it is a long video and the sound in places needs to be improved, please see it as work in progress as we get used to the technology and further develop it.  The aim very quickly is to ‘chunk’ future videos into bite size segments.  This will allow staff and the public to watch the parts that most interest them, or the whole recording in one go.



We’re now well into the new business year and therefore the next round of appraisal and development reviews.  Appraisals provide a valuable opportunity for each of us to have a one-to-one meeting with our manager / appraiser to reflect on how we are doing, discussing progress and performance along with our role and priorities for the coming year, as well as discussing our development needs to support current role and future aspirations.   The process has been changed slightly for 2014-15 particularly with regards to the timeframe within which appraisal should be completed.

Further information will be in the next edition of Weekly News, however it is important to note that the process does include Clinical Directors and Speciality Leads.  If you have any queries regarding the process, please in the first instance contact your HR Business Partner who can provide further guidance and support.



The year is moving along quite quickly and we have now started to plan the next Your Health Heroes awards.  They were held in Barrow for the first time this year, previously they have always been in Kendal, the next awards will be held in Lancaster and continue to rotate around the Bay thereafter.

The awards were another great opportunity to formally recognise the hard work and commitment of our staff, volunteers and governors. You can now watch a short film of the awards here:

Again, I will ensure that this film is also placed on the staff intranet as I am aware that some staff members may have difficulty accessing YouTube.

Aaron Cummins

Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive

Friday Message - 2 May 2014

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Posted by woodfordp

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers


On Tuesday I attended a ‘clinical summit’, with over 200 people in Kendal as part of the better care together programme.

I felt the summit was a real milestone for us all; it was an opportunity for the Trust, along with its two Clinical Commissioning Groups to stand side by side, together with partners from social care, mental health, community services and other NHS providers to share and seek feedback on early thoughts as to how future services may look.

It wasn’t about the detail of how individual services might look, but how hospital, primary, social and community care could be better configured in the future – providing a more joined up and seamless way of working.

The format for the summit consisted of clinicians from hospital and primary care providing updates from their respective workgroups of unplanned and planned care, maternity, paediatrics and out of hospital services. There was also an opportunity for delegates, who included patient groups, local GPs, practice managers, third sector representatives etc to break out into smaller groups and provide feedback on what they had heard.

Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund provided the keynote speech which included a number of notable points from his observations on the day. Chris spoke about the American Health Care provider, Kaiser Permanente and the lessons that can be learned from other providers of healthcare both home and abroad. Kaiser operates 38 hospitals and employ over 170,000 staff. Chris spoke of two observations on their services for us to take away and think about; 1) that they treat each emergency admission into hospital as a failure and 2) they diagnose for admission, rather than admit to diagnose – of course they don’t get it right every time, but these two points provided good insight into their way of working and values.

These two observations are really important I feel as part of the future success of better care together, and while we may not have expressed them in the same way, the principles underpin some of our aims and aspirations. Especially around creating a system which is sustainable for future generations, both clinically and financially – to achieve this will require a change in thinking from us all.

It has always been clear that the unique geography and population of Morecambe Bay means that we have to think especially carefully about how we build sustainable, high-quality services that everyone we serve can access. There is clinical evidence that some “crisis” services like stroke and major trauma get the best outcomes when they  are delivered through larger, centralised units led by the country’s most specialised and experienced clinicians.

But we also know, not least through the interim reports from Sir Bruce Keogh’s Urgent and Emergency Care Review, that these larger, centralised units must be underpinned by ensuring the day-to-day care is carried out as close to home as possible, that all parts of the health service work together to make sure people avoid having to go to hospital at all in the majority of cases, and that patients are able to get to the services they need quickly and conveniently if a trip to a hospital or clinic is needed.

It is positive that these views were echoed by NHS England’s new Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, in his first update to the Health Select Committee this week. He told MPs that while centralisation was “unarguable” for some services, a more “creative” view would be needed to ensure the different needs of urban and rural populations are met, and that merging or closing smaller hospitals was not always the right way forward. He reiterated that local services should be developed in partnership with local communities, so we are confident that our collaborative, inclusive approach to Better Care Together is the right one.

Integration I believe is the way forward for our health and care services in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.  In my opinion, the next challenge for the better care together programme is to start to re-examine traditional organisational barriers and start to talk about how these services will be led. This isn’t the time to be precious about job titles and roles, but to remain true to our central aims of delivering really high quality, safe care for the local population. I was really encouraged at the clinical summit to listen to one of the lead GPs in Cumbria talk this way, about pooling resources and combining structures to remove the delays that exist for patients. It will take a lot of courage and we will need to test and stretch the current rules to allow such radical change to take place, but surely it makes sense that we strip as much bureaucracy as possible out of the system and look to make it as safe, efficient and accessible as possible for every patient?

What are the next steps?  We’ve reached the target of creating a ‘long list’ of ideas around how healthcare might look in the future, the plan now is to review them, alongside all of the feedback and evidence available to create by the end of June 2014, a high level plan. This plan is called the Strategic Outline Case (SoC) and will detail how over the next five years, in partnership with the local health economy, we will start to deliver the transformational work required.



The Trust Board received an update this week on the continued work to improve engagement across the Trust. An important part of staff engagement is ensuring that everyone who works in our hospitals feels supported and respected.

As part of this positive work there will be a renewed focus on wiping out bullying and harassment across our Trust. Bullying and harassment, in all its forms, must not, and will not be tolerated. In the same way we proactively ask all staff to speak out when they have safety concerns, we also want anyone who works in our hospitals to raise the alarm, and take action should they witness, suspect or fall victim to any form of bullying or harassment.

When a person is bullied or harassed it can have a profound and long lasting effect not just on those immediately involved, but also for those around them. It can also have a negative effect on the care we provide for our patients, through staff experiencing reduced morale and confidence and in some cases absences.

The recent staff survey highlighted that around a quarter of staff who responded raised bullying and harassment amongst staff as an issue. The only target of improvement that we can have with regards to anyone working in our hospitals, not being the subject of bullying or harassment is to stamp it out altogether.

Over the coming weeks the HR teams, led by David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and OD, will be sharing will all staff via weekly news and divisional meetings further information on the actions the Trust is taking and the support and advice available.

On behalf of the Trust Board, I want to call on all staff to support the work that is underway to drive this out of our organisation and to adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment.



As you would expect the Trust Board spend a good deal of time discussing and working on this area with divisional leaders. At this week’s Board meeting Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse and David Wilkinson presented the paper I referred to in my Friday message last week, regarding Nurse and Midwifery staffing and recruitment.

Our HR experts, together with divisions are seeing their hard work pay off. International recruitment has made a positive and valuable contribution to our hospitals. Twenty six appointments have been made from Spain, Romania and Italy, of which nine candidates have now taken up their posts within the medical and surgical divisions.

A further seventeen candidates are going through pre-employment clearances, with the majority expected to commence on 8 May. The Divisions are currently working closely with the international recruits to address any pastoral or professional support issues. In addition, keep-in-touch days for the new staff are being arranged in conjunction with the HR team and the Divisions. Provision of accommodation continues to be the most problematic aspect of international recruitment, with a number of options currently being explored.

I’ve talked previously about how different and strange it can feel when joining a new employer, please take a moment to consider the extra challenges for a new member of our team who might not be used to our cultures, and idiosyncrasies of which we have many!  I am sure you will all join me in taking a few extra moments of time with them to assist and make them feel welcomed.

I’ve previously updated that ward 39 is now fully staffed to the funded establishment, and has been for some time, an additional supervisory band 7 nurse has also been appointed on the ward to support newly recruited registered nurses to achieve their competency assessments.

We remain committed to publishing nurse staffing levels to meet the requirements of the ‘Hard Truths Commitments’ – the senior nursing and midwifery team have been working to ensure that information relating to funded and in-post staffing detail is displayed publically this month in all inpatient wards.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 25 April 2014

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Posted by louisefleming

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers

We are anticipating the outcome of the recent CQC inspection of our hospitals in the next few weeks, and whilst we have not yet received a draft of the report, it is likely that staffing will feature.  As soon as we have further details on the report, we will take the time to sit down and share it with you all.

The recruitment and retention of professional staff is one of our key strategic risks, at next week’s Trust Board meeting (Wednesday 30th), we will receive a paper regarding nursing and midwifery staffing and the positive recruitment efforts that are underway, including confirmation that Ward 39 at the RLI is fully staffed to the funded establishment. In fact, this has been the position on the ward for some weeks.

You will know from my previous briefings that good progress has been made with the recruitment of registered nurses and midwives over the last year and more needs to be done to close the gap for unregistered positions.

I am sure that you will be pleased, as I am, that as an executive team we have agreed a strategy to over-recruit with an understanding that efficiencies will be released through a reduction in temporary staffing costs and through reducing cost associated with harm. As I’ve previously mentioned, we know that each year a certain percentage of staff will leave the organisation – therefore as leaders of the organisation, we are now working through the detail to ensure you have the support required to allow you to operate this way.  Clearly it can’t be an open book and controls need to be in place, but we do want to give you the freedoms to operate within a clear set of parameters.

A recruitment campaign is currently underway for over 20 whole time equivalent staff to join our Children’s and Young people’s team – promotion is underway with assessment centres planned in May. Early interest is encouraging and it’s good to see the leadership of the teams showing real innovation through the use of a Q&A this morning on Twitter.

If you have the time, please take a moment to visit the Trust website where all Board papers are published (


Patient and staff experience

The experience of everyone who uses our hospitals is critical.  We all want people to be treated in the same way we would like our loved ones to be. This month I received two sets of information relating to the experience of our patients and staff - I know statistics can turn many people off, but these stood out and I would like to share the headlines with you.

The first is as a result of a piece of work that took place in March across our three hospitals as part of Intentional Rounding.  Five staff and five patients from each in-patient ward were asked a series of short questions.

Patient experience

% that replied Yes

Were you involved as much as you wanted to be in decisions about your care and treatment?


When you had important questions to ask a nurse, did you get answers that you could understand?


Were given enough privacy when being examined or treated?


Did you have confidence and trust in the nurses treating you?


If you were ever in pain, do you think the hospital staff did everything they could to help control your pain?


Did you get enough help from staff to eat your meals?


On reflection, did you get the nursing care that mattered to you?


If a friend or relative needed treatment, would you be happy with the standard of care provided on the ward?



Staff experience

% that replied Yes

I am satisfied with the quality of care I give to patients/ service users


If a friend or relative needed treatment, I would be happy with the standard of care provided by this ward


I would recommend the ward as a place to work



I would like to thank all of the patients and staff that took part. These are an encouraging and positive set of results. This survey will now be carried out each month, across all wards in our hospitals and we will ensure they are shared with all staff, volunteers, governors and the public.

If you would like to know more about this work, I am quite sure that Joann Morse, Deputy Chief Nurse at the RLI and her team would be happy to discuss the findings and approach with you.

Patient experience - chemotherapy

The second set of experience results that I received concerned patients undergoing chemotherapy at our hospitals.

Of those surveyed, 100% of patients rated the service as good or better – with 97% saying the service was very good or excellent.

The survey was conducted by Quality Health nationally and when broken down local patients said their service was responsive to their needs.

The Trust performed as well as – or better than average – in 46 of the 52 questions asked in the survey.

I have recently spent time on two of our units which provide chemotherapy and know how passionate and caring you all are, well done to everyone involved – we have shared these excellent results with the press and local partners.  I will arrange for a copy of the survey to be placed on the intranet.

Safety seminar – 2 May

I have the privilege on the 2 May of attending and delivering the opening talk at a national patient safety seminar being held at Lancaster University.

The seminar has been organised by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO). BAPIO is a national voluntary organisation representing the interests of over 50,000 doctors and 15,000 dentists working in the NHS. 

I am pleased to support BAPIO, as I am other organisations, in the important pursuit of continually raising standards to ensure the services we all provide are the safest they can be.

Better care together – 29 April

On Tuesday next week, over 200 people will be gathering in Kendal to receive the latest update on the work of better care together.  The aim of the event is for those people who have been closely involved in the programme, including many of our clinicians and staff, to gain a clearer understanding on progress to date and next steps. 

We are also planning to look at how some of the possible models of care are taking shape. This is very much an early look and it is important to remember that no decisions have yet been taken as to how future services may be configured in the future. If you do hear any rumours that decisions have been taken, you can always make use of the rumour line, speak to your line manager, myself or any member of the executive team for clarification – we don’t want people worrying unnecessarily and we will do our best to provide a quick reply.

Following the event we will be collating the information and providing an update to all staff, stakeholders and the public.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 18 April 2014

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Posted by louisefleming

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

As an executive team and a Trust Board, we have recently taken the time to look forward and plan for some of the key events that we expect to take place this year, and I will summarise some of them in today’s message.

But before I do, I am conscious that whilst I am thinking about a break over the bank holiday weekend, for many of our staff it is ‘business as usual’, working around the clock to care for our patients.  In my opinion hospitals are like many of our public services, we hope we never need them, but sleep sounder knowing they are there if we do.

Whilst my team and I visit wards and departments at all different times of the day and night, we should never forget those staff who are still here when we have turned the lights out and gone home – I wanted this week to say thank you to those staff who work what we often think of as ‘unsociable’ hours, I really don’t take your contribution for granted.  But thinking ahead, this surely needs to become the norm for our hospitals?  After all, patients do not choose when to become ill.

Nationally, hospitals, ours included, will need to move to true seven day working – there is evidence that limiting services over weekends can have a detrimental effect on the outcomes for our patients, including increasing the risk of mortality. I do believe that we will look back in the future and wonder how services were ever planned this way.  Our forthcoming staff briefings will touch on this important area, you can also read more about the NHS plan for “NHS everyday” on line:


I want to share with you all a number of key activities taking place in this year. We will also circulate a more complete ‘map’ of the year in due course, and talk to you all as these events approach.




CQC Hospital Inspection Report

April / May

We will likely receive a draft copy of the report at the end of April / early May.  Following this the Trust has an opportunity to comment before the report is published.

Prior to publication, the CQC will hold a quality summit for the Trust and other relevant bodies to meet and discuss the outcome and next steps.

Better care together – clinical summit

29 April

Around 200 representatives from the organisations that have input into the process have been invited to a half day event.

The intention is that this will be the first look at a long-list of potential models for how healthcare may be provided in the future, both in and out of hospital across the Morecambe Bay area.

It will not be the final recommendations and will require further work.


Five Year strategic plan




The Trust will be submitting to Monitor its plan for continuing to transform services.

Safety, quality and the patient experience will be at the heart of the plan and detail how the Trust will be able to deliver high standards of care with the resources available to it.

Better care together – ‘strategic outline case’


This will inform our 5 year plan and include the recommendations for how the local health economy could deliver healthcare in the future, both in and out of hospital for the population of the Morecambe Bay area.

It will then require further, formal scrutiny and examination before submission to NHS England.  Major, substantial service change will require formal consultation.

NHS staff survey


The views of our staff are critical if we are to improve.

The staff survey provides a useful method, amongst others, to understand how our staff feel when working in our hospitals.

Morecambe Bay Investigation



Whilst we don’t have an exact date, the Chair of the Investigation Team has indicated that he expects to conclude and report the findings in the Autumn. 


I started by saying that I was thinking about the long weekend – it is very important that we all look after ourselves. As an employer we take our responsibility for your health and well-being really important.

I want all of our staff to feel supported when you come to work and good health and wellbeing plays a key role in preventing a wide range of major health conditions. It can also improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety, as well as having a positive effect on self-esteem.

Your management team and Human Resources are here to provide you support when you need it. We also have a number of services available to you provided by our dedicated team of specialist Occupational Health nurses and doctors, should you need support if you are experiencing anxiety, or stress, or would like some advice regarding your health and wellbeing such as stopping smoking or how to lead a healthier lifestyle. 

We also have the Employee Assistance Programme, an independent, impartial and confidential service; please speak to your line manager or HR Business Partner for details.

One of our workforce priorities this year is to ensure our employees are healthy, happy and safe in their working environment. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve your life at work, or would like to get involved in the project please do not hesitate to contact Karmini Willmot, HR Business Partner on 07760 426250.

How do I relax? I am currently in training for the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May and most of my spare time is spent preparing for it. I find it a great opportunity to spend a few hours clearing my mind and concentrating on something completely different – I say relax, my body is often saying something different the morning after!  Whatever you are doing at the weekend, I do hope that you are able to find some time to safely unwind and relax.

Have a very happy Easter.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 11 April 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


The first day of joining any new job is arguably one of the most important in your time with the new employer. It is our opportunity, as a Trust, to share and discuss our vision and values – where we are heading and the standards of behaviour expected by patients and colleagues.

We have now amended our corporate induction to be a one day programme taking place twice a month, with an introduction at each session from an executive director.

I would like to personally send a warm welcome to everyone that has joined the Trust this week. I know how it feels to start a new job, from excitement through to confusion – especially if you are new to the NHS and the myriad of jargon that comes with it! Good luck and welcome to the team. 

I welcome all feedback, but I would be especially interested to hear from new staff as to their initial experience when joining us. 


One of the new members of team this week is Jacqueline Pratt, - our new Non-Executive Director.

Jacqueline started her career 30 years ago as a Social Worker. Her career has continued to progress with experience of health and social care leadership at Board level, including leadership and governance roles within an NHS Foundation Trust and the Police Service.

I am sure you will join me in welcoming Jacqueline to the Trust and I know she is looking forward to working with the Board, governors, staff and volunteers to continually improve standards of safety, quality and experience for our patients and staff.

Non-Executive Directors play a crucial role in the leadership of the NHS, ensuring its strategic direction is in line with government policy, while also providing a voice for local communities.

Last week I launched the Rumour Line – a chance for us to answer your questions and ‘myth bust’ those rumours. I will be looking at these on a weekly basis and responding to them via the Weekly News. If you have any questions or hear a rumour you’d like answering, please let us know. 

I don’t plan to respond to these via the Friday Message each week, but I thought I’d start of by answering what I have received to date below:

Q. The RLI is to merge with Preston and Blackpool Hospital. RLI is going to be demolished and re-built with a multi-story car park.  FGH will stand alone.

A. We have no plans to merge with Preston or Blackpool hospitals.  Our strategy, better care together, is reviewing services in partnership with our two clinical commissioning groups of Cumbria and North Lancashire to create, within the existing geography, a new way of delivering safe, high quality care which can be sustained for generations to come. Whilst we do not yet know the outcome of the review, I have not attended any meetings to discuss such a merger.

We have no plans to demolish the RLI. As I have put in writing recently to all staff, we have started to develop plans, following initial meetings with the City Council, to develop the existing visitor and staff parking at the RLI, which is likely to include a multi-story car park for hospital use.

In terms of Furness General Hospital being stand alone, it is a difficult question to answer as I am not clear on whether this means we have plans for it not to be part of the Trust? I have been very open in that we cannot go on providing services as we do, in the way we do across the three sites moving forward, it isn’t viable - clinically or financially. However, I do feel that we are stronger as a network, and the current discussion is focussing on how we develop pathways of care across primary, community and acute care in order to improve the way we deliver care as a ‘whole system’ but how we operate and manage the hospital sites in the future is likely to change, especially as we look to implement essential changes for the benefit of our patients such as seven day working.

Q. Is it true WGH will close?  Porters and domestics have been told this may happen.

A. We have no plans to close WGH.  Whilst services may change in the future following the review, it would be premature to speculate at this stage.  As soon as we have any plans, for any of our hospitals that indicate change, I will let all staff know.  It is important to remember that change does not always mean reducing services.


For over eighteen months now, the better care together programme has been looking in great detail at the best ways of ensuring that we can provide safe, long-lasting, high quality and affordable health care services for the people of Morecambe Bay. The Trust and its two Clinical Commissioning Groups remain committed to this aim.

What is important, we believe, is not who owns our hospitals, but the quality and range of services available for local people. That isn’t code for closing, downgrading or selling off any of the hospitals; on the contrary, having this as a principle allows us to think beyond traditional organisational boundaries and focus on people, rather than the buildings. 

As you all know, if we don’t get this process right and sort out the long standing issues facing our hospitals, the matter could be taken out of our hands by the regulators, in which case, the future ownership of any of our hospitals could be in doubt as we have now seen elsewhere in the country.

We have been clear that as soon as we have any specific proposals for service changes these will be shared with staff, partners and the public. We have not yet reached that stage and there is still much more detailed work to do on key issues before we make any formal recommendations about the best way forward.  

We have a number of key dates approaching starting with 29 April.  On 29 April, we will brief around 200 clinicians and other colleagues from the organisations that have been involved in the better care together process, providing them a ‘first look’ at possible future models of care. We have held a number of workshops/ information sessions this year for staff across our hospitals, together with CCG colleagues and we are now in the process of planning further opportunities for staff, governors and volunteers to be updated on progress.

I would like to repeat my previous requests to you all, I know how busy you all are, but given the importance of the information we have to share and discuss with you, if you could do your very best to attend, or perhaps arrange in teams for a colleague to attend and feedback, it would be appreciated – this really is too important to miss the opportunity to get involved.


I spent the evening yesterday at a Community Forum in Barrow-In-Furness.  Around 40 women from across the community attended.  I met many inspirational women who were engaged in work across the community and who were changing the experience and lives of those around them.  It reminded me how important it is to listen and understand the needs of the population we serve.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 4 April 2014

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Posted by woodfordp

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


The Friday Message


On Tuesday, 1 April, Simon Stevens took up post as the new Chief Executive of the NHS, I look forward to working with him and wish him every success. Simon delivered a speech on his first day in the job and you can read it in full here:

As part of the speech he was clear that he wants to take a bit more time assessing what needs to change within the NHS, but also recognising that for the majority, the quality of NHS care is very high. He did however make a number of headline observations which I feel resonate with what we are aiming to achieve through better care together and greater partnership working.

Within his speech he talks about the need to find ways of better blending health and social care for people with high needs and for those high performing Clinical Commissioning Groups, considering bringing some services together within primary, community, and specialist care.

To quote from his speech, ‘If you’re going to get to a sustainable and future-proofed local health system, what are some of the longstanding assumptions and constraints we’d need to say goodbye to?’

Simon also talked about three elements that I feel are forming part of the discussions and planning within the work of better care together:

  • Boosting the critical role that patients play in their own health and care;
  • Supporting the amazing commitment of carers and volunteers and communities to sustaining their health and social care services;
  • And unleashing the passion and drive of the million+ frontline NHS staff who are devoting their professional lives to caring.

I am sure we will see more information over the coming weeks as he works with the wider NHS, public and third sector to meet the future challenges and I will share these with you as they are released.

I would be grateful if you could take a few moments over the coming week to read the speech, as I do feel it provides a good deal of context as to why we created better care together, and that in some ways, we are ahead of the curve in this thinking.


My aim when I started the Friday message was to be as open as I could be on matters concerning the Trust without causing unnecessary worry or alarm. Therefore I was disappointed this week to be discussing via the press, details of a meeting with staff which has in my opinion, brought unnecessary concern to many of our staff, patients and local residents.  I don’t doubt the intentions were well meant and I do respect the views put forward.

When we started on our journey with better care together, we agreed at the outset, with our partners, that we would not work in secret and that as and when thoughts and plans started to take shape or we faced matters we needed assistance with, we would discuss them with our staff, the public and stakeholders. The aim remains that this feedback will help inform the clinical design process ahead of the recommendations we expect to receive in June this year. What we didn’t want to do was wait until the summer and announce the details of a consultation that none of you had any knowledge of.

I am sure you are all aware of better care together, however, as with any large complex organisation, there will be a lot of people in our Trust who will be new, therefore I would like to remind ourselves why we created this plan.  Better care together is a programme of work which was formed by the Trust and its two Clinical Commissioning Groups to review services across the Trust. More recently this was expanded to reviewing ‘out of hospital’ services.  Together, we want to design a new health care service for South Cumbria and North Lancashire, which is not only safe, but offers high standards of care and experience for patients and staff. We cannot sustain our hospitals as they are currently configured, clinically or financially. Through better care together, we want to transform the services to ensure they can be sustained for generations to come.  Whilst I can’t second guess the outcome of the work that is taking place, any substantial change would be subject to formal consultation. What I am clear about is that it is very unlikely the outcome of better care together will be to stay as we are and ‘tinker’ around the edges – the public, staff and stakeholders deserve much more than that. I do believe that if we work together we can create a system that we can all be proud of, but we do have to think beyond bricks and mortar, this isn’t the time to be protective about traditional organisational boundaries.

The difficulty with a process such as better care together is who do you tell first? We decided, and I believe rightly, that we should discuss our thoughts with some of our most senior clinicians in the organisation as well as with you all. We have also arranged and publicised staff briefings for the coming year – we do trust our staff and our intention remains to brief you in this way, rather than via the media first, we hope you will continue to be supportive of this approach.


Disposal of Westmorland general hospital

I would like to address the main crux of the claims, regarding the sale or disposal of Westmorland General Hospital and the Trust Board’s approval of over £150m of capital expenditure at our other two main sites. The Trust Board has not approved such an investment, nor have any decisions been taken over the long term future of our hospitals, other than to commission, and be part of better care together.

We remain absolutely committed to better care together and continue to work in partnership with our two clinical commissioning groups to see through the plan of reviewing healthcare services that take place both in, and out of hospital. The aim is to ensure future health care in South Cumbria and North Lancashire remains safe, is of a consistently high standard and can be provided within the resources available for generations to come.


Estates planning

 I recently wrote to all staff regarding the progress of our draft estates strategy via the Friday Message. We are very mindful that better care together has not yet provided any recommendations on what future healthcare may look like, but we do have sight of some of the commissioning intentions from our commissioners, such as the aim to retain consultant led maternity services at Furness General Hospital.

In addition, we are aware of some of the immediate pressures that remain if any of our sites are to be further developed over a long period of time, such as car parking at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Car parking at Lancaster causes our patients and staff additional anxiety on a daily basis. A significant amount of preparatory work would be required if this situation was to be drastically improved, and we have held initial talks with the City Council around this possibility – an improvement which could benefit the majority of patients that need to travel to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Clinical modelling work: what might things be like in the future

We have also been discussing with staff, the public and stakeholders via engagement events how services may look in the future. Helping each other to think differently in anticipation of the recommendations that will emerge in the summer. We have been very open about how this is coming together, enabling these conversations and activities to take place. I wrote to our stakeholders, staff and Governors in January this year, together with my colleagues from our two Clinical Commissioning Groups and we were clear about some of the thinking at that time around ‘in hospital’ services, which included a number of potential scenarios - following which, you may have seen the headlines of a “super hospital” to serve the whole of Morecambe Bay. 

When talking specifically about Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) we have been discussing whether or not it should be our Trust that owns the site in the future. We only occupy part of the hospital, two other NHS Trusts also operate a number of services from here. For example, the Primary Care Assessment Service (PCAS) is available 24x7, treats in excess of 20,000 patients a year and is provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  We have also been discussing how the hospital could be further developed, with open questions for discussion – such as bringing other services onto the site. But again, no decisions have been made.  We are proud of the services that are provided at WGH and know how valued they are to the public, but that isn’t a reason not to review them and consider how they may be best delivered in the longer term to meet the changing health needs of our local population.

Trust Headquarters

We have been doing a lot of work recently not just as an executive team, but across the organisation to ensure we are more visible to our staff – I know from feedback from my colleagues and personally that this is starting to make a difference, but I feel we can still do much more to ensure we are better connected with you all. As part of this work we are considering the location of the executive team and some support staff, and the opportunity to be located across our sites.  Essentially, being based where the majority of activity is taking place and staff employed, be that in Barrow or Lancaster. Do you agree?  I welcome your thoughts.

When we started the important work of better care together we saw headlines stating the A&E at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary was to close, in January there was to be a “super hospital” to be built and this week it is the possible closure or sale of Westmorland General Hospital.


As we go through the process of reviewing services there will naturally be a lot of questions and supposition. If you are hearing rumours about the future of a service or have concerns you do not feel are being addressed, then please do not hesitate to let me know and together with my colleagues, we will try to answer them as best we can.

However, let me be absolutely clear – if you see practice that you feel falls below the standards we expect for our patients or staff, then please raise the alarm, you will be supported, the safety of everyone who uses our hospitals is our priority.

I don’t want to let a rumour get in the way of a few good facts, Starting next week, we will publicise via Weekly News each week an email address for any rumours that you hear and share the responses via the staff intranet for you all.


A report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an unannounced inspection at Royal Lancaster Hospital in October last year is being published today. The report shows that the Trust was already acting on the findings of the unannounced visit, and since the report, more progress has been made.

My executive colleagues and I spend time each week on our wards and in departments, and we know first-hand that our staff are working hard day-in, day-out to ensure services are safe, and standards of care continue to be improved for the benefit of all of our patients.

Staffing on ward 39 is now up to establishment, and we continue to monitor staffing levels, not just on this ward, but across the Trust. The ward also has additional leadership support.

I would like to thank all of the ward staff for working together to make further improvements, and welcome the support of one our local MPs who recently visited the ward to meet staff and patients and see first-hand the progress being made.

Over the last year, the Trust has been successful in increasing the number of registered nurses at the Trust, seeing over 130 new nurses join our hospitals. We still have work to do, but have significantly reduced the vacancy levels in these areas. The Trust is committed to being open and transparent and will shortly be publishing, on a monthly basis staffing levels for all of its wards as part of providing further reassurance to the public.


Last weekend, like many of us I was enjoying the first really warm days of the year, sadly, I also became one of the first people to arrive at the scene of a serious traffic incident and stayed to assist.

I don’t want to go into details of the incident, other than to publicly say thank you to the doctors, paramedics, police and other people who assisted – I will place this message on my blog too. I may be a nurse by background and at heart, but it still takes moments like that to remind you how precious life is, and to remember what an incredible and vital role our NHS plays at such times. I will contact those people separately who I can recall from the incident.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 28 March 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.



Better care together – developing our strategy

It continues to be an exciting but very busy time in developing our strategy - better care together. 

This week, I had the pleasure, together with George Nasmyth, Medical Director and Juliet Walters, Chief Operating Officer, to meet a large number of our consultant colleagues from across the Trust. This was an opportunity to discuss how we are progressing with better care together, and as I recently mentioned, to discuss the draft estates strategy.

We don’t have all the answers yet as we are still working with our partners on developing the possible options for how future services both in, and out of hospital, could look but it was a further occasion to provide an early look at thoughts and receive comments.

I always welcome feedback and suggestions about what’s working and what isn’t and discussing how we can improve on things. While we received a lot of feedback about the longer term plans, certainly about how the different hospitals and services could be developed, we also discussed a number of other areas, such as the impact of getting the staffing levels right. This wasn’t just focused on patient facing staffing but also the administrative and support services, along with the importance of retaining staff once we have recruited them.

I would like to thank everyone that was able to make the meeting, especially as it was in the evening and many of you have other commitments.

It is essential, as we do in other areas of the Trust, to keep these sessions as a regular calendar item throughout the year, and I will work with George Nasmyth and our consultants to ensure this happens.

Staff Survey

As you will be aware, the results from the Staff Survey 2013 have recently been released. These results are your way of letting us know what we are doing well and what areas we need to improve. We want to give you the opportunity to talk through these results with us, feeding back what is working and what isn’t, so we have arranged some feedback sessions. These sessions start on Monday and more details can be found in the link at the end of today’s message and in this week’s Weekly News. 

We really hope you will join us at one of the sessions and take part in making any changes which will go towards improving your experience at work.

Nursing and Midwifery recruitment

As an executive team, we have been leading the work to review the recruitment for the nursing and midwifery (registered and unregistered) workforce.

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, and the team are aware, particularly from the time we spend each week on our wards, the importance of getting this right to allow you all to do your jobs to the best of your ability.  Getting the staffing right – not just in terms of numbers, is vital as part of continually improving standards of quality and safety.

Over the last year, efforts have been increased to improve the recruitment success in these areas. We have been targeting our efforts, such as making use of social media, attending recruitment fairs, improving the quality of recruitment information, and undertaking overseas recruitment.

In addition, the teams have also looked at ways of improving the process for recruitment and to reduce the time it takes, such as the introduction of the online system (TRAC).

It was reported at the Board meeting this week that the Trust currently has an overall vacancy figure for the nursing and midwifery (registered and unregistered) workforce of 5.6%, against a budgeted establishment figure. However, as with most statistics, you need to look further.  For registered posts, efforts have paid off and we currently have a vacancy factor of 3.5%, however for unregistered staff, this currently stands at 10.3%. 

Clearly there is more to do to improve the figures, particularly for unregistered staff.

Based on previous data, it is reasonable to anticipate that the current turnover rate of approximately 8% in these areas will continue for the foreseeable future. It is unlikely, therefore, that the current pressure on nursing recruitment will stop in the coming years, and as such it is necessary to continually identify more innovative, streamlined, approaches to meeting this rising demand.

If we know 8% of this staff group are potentially going to leave this year, it then makes sense to start recruitment efforts in advance, recruiting in cohorts and anticipating the demand.  This will also help to reduce the issue we face where we have to say “no” to suitable candidates. For those people who may want to join our Trust, it allows them to plan, knowing when throughout the year we are recruiting.

This simple change will lead to a more efficient, streamlined approach to the recruitment process which will be more responsive to the Trust’s needs. Cohort recruitment would be managed through assessment centres where the selection would focus on the Trust values in addition to clinical skills. Site-specific recruitment cohort days on a monthly basis will be held with a two stage recruitment process.

Moving forward, plans are also being developed to look at the role of Modern Apprenticeships for unregistered roles.  An apprenticeship would allow recruits to receive paid, on the job training, as well as a formal certificate. At the end of the course, the apprentices would have the opportunity of staying with the Trust in paid employment, or furthering their career development by undertaking study to gain registered status. This is an exciting development and will, in time, reduce our reliance on agency and temporary staff and help to develop the workforce at the beginning of their career. 

David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, and his team will be in direct contact with all divisions to discuss these improvements and to work with you on implementing them.

We all have a role to play in the experience of our patients

Arguably the most important part of our monthly Board meetings is the first agenda item which is always a story about the experience of one our patients.

As a Board, we always feel privileged that patients share their experiences with us. We receive the information in a number of different ways, such as being read out by a clinician involved in the care of the patient, via a video, or by the patient themselves.

Not all of the experiences we hear about are positive. This opportunity allows the Board to question and examine the improvements that have taken place and lessons have been learned and shared.

If you are not aware, the monthly Trust Board meeting is held in public, hence we provide different options for patients, including whether or not they want their name disclosed. 

What is important is that, as a Board, we never lose focus as to what is important – the safety of everyone who uses our hospitals, the quality and standard of care being provided, and the experience of our patients.

This week, Lynne Wyre, Assistant Chief Nurse – Surgery and Critical Care, presented a story of a patient who after a fall at home, spent around 32 days in hospital, with spells in both the RLI and Royal Preston Hospital (RPH).  We heard many positives and I will talk about one of those, but sadly we also heard the patient had a poor experience in a number of areas. Before I mention more, I would like to say thank you on behalf of the Board to the patient for sharing their experiences.

The details of this patient’s experience have been shared with the staff involved and the plan for improvement shared and discussed with the patient.

What came through listening to the story, and I hope this won’t be a surprise to any of you, is the difference the little things make to a patient whilst they lie in their beds.

I would like to share with you two particular items from this particular story. Firstly, an example of where small things can have unexpected consequences for a patient. The patient was told over the course of a week that they would be transferred to RPH for further treatment and that the ward was ‘waiting for the call’. The patient, who was immobile, complained that the phone on the ward would often ring without being answered.  The consequence of this is that the patient felt more and more anxious each time, thinking this could be the call confirming the transfer, especially as we had raised and lowered expectations each day.

A real positive from the story was the patient’s impression of a member of our staff. The staff member’s name is Henrik Wagner, and he is a Domestic at RLI. Henrik was praised by the patient for taking the time to talk to them - just a pleasant “morning” and “how are you?” made all the difference. I know a number of nursing staff were also praised but Henrik was specifically mentioned as making a difference.

I would like to put on record my thanks to Henrik, and look forward to meeting him when I am next on the wards at the RLI.

The minutes of the Board meeting will be published prior to the next meeting, which will include further detail of this patient’s experience, and be available on the Trust website ( In the meantime, I am quite sure that Sue Smith’s team would be pleased to share the details and learning with you.

#hellomynameis Jackie

I want to stay on the theme of the experience of our patients. I do believe that we can all make a difference, every day, to improving the experience of everyone who uses our hospitals - the previous story clearly demonstrates this.

Dr Kate Granger, an Elderly Medicine Registrar working in Yorkshire, is terminally ill with a rare form of cancer and her experience of being a patient led her to start a campaign to raise levels of compassion among NHS staff.

Through social media and a personal blog, she has started a campaign, #hellomynameis, in order to raise awareness of how simple things can dramatically improve the dignity, respect and experience afforded to service users.

I want to quote direct from Kate’s blog as it explains her campaign:,

I was recently a hospital in-patient with post-operative sepsis following a stent exchange procedure. During this admission I made some observations on the quality of my care. Perhaps the starkest of these was that not every member of staff who approached me introduced themselves. We have it drilled into us on day 1 of Clinical Medicine learning that starting the relationship with a patient begins with an introduction. It was easy marks in our exams. I’m sure it is the same for nursing and other healthcare professionals too. But something has failed…

As a healthcare professional you know so much about your patient. You know their name, their personal details, their health conditions, who they live with and much more. What do we as patients know about our healthcare professionals? The answer is often absolutely nothing, sometimes it seems not even their names. The balance of power is very one-sided in favour of the healthcare professional.


I have always been a strong believer in getting to know people’s names as part of building good working relationships with both patients and other colleagues. I think it is the first rung on the ladder to providing compassionate care and often getting the simple things right, means the more complex things will follow more easily and naturally.


So here the idea of #hellomynameis is born. If you support this idea please leave a comment below with your introduction to a patient. By doing this you are pledging to introduce yourself to every patient you meet. Please share this page with as many healthcare professionals as possible and let’s make things better… The NHS employs 1.7 million people. The majority of these people will interact with patients on some level. Let’s see how many pledges we can get!

Here is mine to get us started:

“Hello. My name is Dr Kate Granger. I’m one of the senior doctors who will be looking after you on the ward while you’re with us. How are you feeling today?”

Why am I sharing this particular campaign with you?  Following information prepared by one of our Specialist Bereavement Nurses, as an executive team we want to support this campaign as best we can, and support you all to do the same.  We will shortly share with you all how we intend to best to do this.  In the meantime, and I am sure many of you already do, but when you next meet a patient, please remember to take the time and let them know who you are and the role you will be playing in their care.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive


Friday Message - 21 March 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

BetterCareTogether-Blue.jpgWith the budget grabbing the headlines earlier this week, I wanted to stay on a financial theme and talk about the efficiency gains that we have achieved together over the last two years.

As the Trust started to make plans for recovery in 2012, there were a number of headline figures as we started to understand the scale of the financial challenge – largely as a result of having to reinvest to ensure the safety of everyone who uses our hospitals. As you will all know this investment continues, particularly in the area of staffing where we have seen around 130 new nurses join our hospitals over the last year, this is in addition to those that have left, but there is still work to be done in some areas to get the staffing levels to where we want them to be.

As we got a grip on the finances, we were able to clarify that for the financial years 2012/13 and 2013/14 we needed to make efficiency savings of £18m, excluding additional financial support from our commissioners and the Department of Health.

While this has proven to be challenging, I am pleased to inform you all that as we finalise the accounts, it does look like we will be have achieved the £18m efficiency target. 

Personally and on behalf of the Board, I would like to say thank you to all – it hasn’t been easy, but by all working as a team we have improved services for the benefit of our patients.

We shared with staff a long time ago that we can’t carry on as we are, spending more than we earn, it doesn’t work at home and it doesn’t work in business. It is a priority to ensure our services remain safe and that standards of care and patient experience continue to improve, that was one of the fundamental reasons for establishing our better care together strategy, - ensuring that future generations of people have hospitals in South Cumbria and North Lancashire which are of a standard the public and regulators expect and deserve, and that can be provided within the money available.

NHS Hospitals are required each year to deliver efficiency savings and work has been underway across divisions for some time now to plan how we will achieve the targets in 2014/15 and 2015/16. We will share the final details of these and the planned schemes with you all shortly, but once again, thank you for your continued hard work and commitment to achieving these efficiency gains.

If you are not yet been involved in the planning within your areas for cost improvement schemes, please do not hesitate to contact your line manager. If you do not feel that you have sufficient opportunities to be involved, please contact myself, or any of the executive directors for support.

Better care together and the Annual Plan

It is really important that all staff have the opportunity to understand our strategy, better care together, and our supporting plans, as well as to ask questions and feedback.

To assist, we have established a series of executive director led staff briefing sessions for 2014 which will provide a regular update on our strategy, governance and quality – including patient experience, engagement and partnerships, finance and how we are performing overall.

These have always been well attended in the past and we hope that this will continue, especially by sharing dates now to help you all plan.  Starting with the April sessions, we will also be filming one of them (not the staff Q&A element) so they can be shared with you all via the Intranet.

At the April briefings, we aim to update you on the latest round of planning documents that we have submitted to Monitor. Each year, Monitor requires foundation trusts to produce realistic plans (based on discussions with their commissioners) to help them identify any potential issues and make sure patients’ needs are met. The plans consist of a financial forecast and an assessment of governance risk, which reflects the overall effectiveness of an NHS foundation trust’s leadership – our Operational Plan will be presented at the public Board meeting next Wednesday, copies of the papers will soon be available from the Trust website (  We will also place a copy of the plan on the staff intranet and share the link with you all.

As I mentioned recently, we are refreshing a number of communication activities, we started with increasing the visibility of the Board and leaders on the wards and departments, introduced the Friday Message and this new approach to briefings I am sure, will assist to provide you all a consistent, clear message on progress throughout the year.  I will over the next week or so also share with you our plans for re-launching Team Brief.

And finally

It is always one of the highlights of my job to attend our awards events.  I was delighted to attend and present at this year’s Your Health Heroes Awards last night, where the commitment, passion and dedication of our staff, volunteers, fundraisers and governors were all recognised. 

It has been an incredibly busy last 12 months and I don’t expect the next 12 to be any quieter, especially with the small matter of a general election to take place in 2015!  However, it is important to step back and take this time out to celebrate and formally recognise the achievements of you all. What makes these awards really extra special is that they are nominated by the public and your colleagues – that in itself is a great accolade for the work that goes on every day, right across our hospitals.

Well done to everyone who was nominated, regardless of whether or not you received the winner’s award – all very much deserved.

Traditionally we have held these events in Kendal each year, starting this year they will be rotating, last night they were held in Barrow, next year it will be in Lancaster.

I have mentioned a lot lately about the importance of volunteers in our hospitals; I will ensure the Friday message is also shared with them from now on – volunteers, like our governors, are also very welcome to attend our staff briefing sessions.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive







17th April 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

24th April 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

25th April 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH




24th July 2014


Boardrooms, WGH

28th July 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

31st July 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH




24th October 2014


Lecture Theatre, FGH

27th October 2014


Lecture Theatre, RLI

30th October 2014


Boardrooms, WGH



Friday Message - 14 March 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


Education, Training, Research and Development

I wanted to start this week’s message by updating you all regarding the important role that education, training and research and development will play in transforming our services.

As you know, under our strategy for better care together, we are in the transition phase, reviewing services in partnership with our Clinical Commissioning Groups. I believe that in order to make the transformational change needed we must ensure that we have a clear plan as to how we will train and educate not just our existing workforce, but the clinicians and support staff of the future.  We must also ensure that along with this, we have a clear vision and plan as to how research and development can help us to achieve our goals and to develop best practice.

It has been some time since we last commissioned a review of these services and we possibly haven’t made the progress that we would have all liked. However this week, following discussion with the University of Lancaster, I wish to restate our commitment to this agenda, and how R&D, education and training is very much part of our strategy going forward.   There are of course other education providers, and we will continue to engage and involve them.

We are now working on a paper for the Trust Board, which will start to lay out the proposed direction of travel.  This work will require input from our leaders in these areas as to how we now bring them to the fore and give the functions a real sense of identity. I discussed a number of initiatives this week with the University, one of which includes the possible recruitment of a number of joint academic posts.  These new posts, and some funding has already been identified, would concentrate on areas where we can design and deliver new models of care as part of enabling better care together.

Clearly there is much to discuss and to be excited about and I look forward to your involvement as this work starts to take shape.

Our hospitals – making them fit for purpose

I recently wrote about the practical difficulties that patients and many staff face on a daily basis due to the layout of our estates. We have for a short while now developed the outline of what an estates strategy could look like as we move forward with our plans to transform services.

We now have the beginning of a 10 year vision for our estates, essentially how our hospitals could develop throughout this time, together with an indication of what work we could complete in the next 2 – 3 years.  To get to this stage, we have been speaking with staff across all divisions, as well as our commissioners and other partners – trying to get a clearer understanding on national and local priorities for the longer term.

This isn’t about prejudging any outcomes of the work that we are doing as part of better care together around future models of care, as some of that is already known. What we have yet to fully decide, is how in the future they could be provided within the resources available.  For example, Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group has already said that it sees the retention of consultant led maternity services at Furness General Hospital as a core commissioning priority for the foreseeable future – therefore we can start to plan and think about the type of environment and location within the hospital for these services. At RLI, with the buildings being so disjointed there is the opportunity to look at how services could be brought closer together on the site.  This would assist patients to move through the hospital in a logical way, with support and diagnostic services located where they are most needed, not where they fit to suit the building. We already know at RLI we need to significantly invest in our Blood Sciences to achieve the relevant accreditation. Blood Sciences are a real critical part of our hospitals – we do not need to wait for the results of better care together to start to think about and plan for such developments.

It is difficult to mention RLI without talking about the car parking issues. Day in, day out, many patients and staff suffer the frustration of trying to find a parking space across the site.  Parking at RLI has been an issue for some time, and it won’t get any better without decisive action and investment.  It isn’t easy to solve and it isn’t cheap, if it was it would have been sorted by now, however it needs to be tackled – part of the plans we are developing include looking at how we can drastically improve the situation, probably through different measures, such as a multi-story car park and better use of alternative travel options.

As plans develop, I will ensure we speak to you all and seek your feedback and continued input.


Understandably we receive a lot of press coverage, not just when we don’t get it right for our patients, but also about the good work that you all do.  Of late, we have been featured on day time TV due to the innovative work of our catering teams, in the local press as a result of the positive increase in nurses joining our hospitals, through to the success of apprenticeships and recognition of being award winners – well done to everyone who promotes our hospitals, it really does make a big difference.

I know great things happen every day throughout our hospitals, and in fairness, the press is not here to publicise what we should be doing well, but what they will do, and do often, is publicise where we have gone the extra mile for our patients. Did you know for example, that over the last six months we have had around 130 positive articles published about the Trust?

But the way people commentate and report on everyday life has changed – not least with the introduction of social media, and its rapid pace of change. 

This week I want to share with you some personal thoughts and observations concerning the reputation of the Trust and the impact being in the spotlight can have for each of us individually, for our colleagues and for the patients who use our services.

I am a great believer in being open and, whereas my social media skills may not be as good as some of my colleagues, I do appreciate how it helps us communicate and get the message across to a wider audience.

Like many of you, I chose to come to work in Morecambe Bay because I wanted to be part of a good organisation aiming to being a great one, where the safety of patients and excellent care is at the heart of everything we do.

I am very aware of the impact and distress when individuals are singled out, especially on social media. We only used to talk about Facebook, now it is Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and so on, with the list growing each year. However with the best will in the world, messages on Twitter of a 140 characters or less do not always allow the whole story to be told and can often appear to misrepresent a situation.  Once the message is out there, as many of you know, it can be reproduced many times over in a matter of minutes, before we are even aware.

I have broad shoulders and expect to get criticised and held to account, be that in the press, or now via social media - it's part of the job description of a Chief Executive! Normally I accept and move on, but when the personal attacks begin to impact on the reputation of the Trust and potentially create a lack of confidence from staff or patients, I then believe it is my responsibility to do everything I can to ‘put the record straight’. That can be difficult sometimes to do in public, mainly because when we respond, we must make sure that we do not breach the privacy of anyone involved – which can sometimes put us in an almost impossible position. But, we will do everything we can to respect the views of others. I say this as often staff sometimes ask why we haven’t said more to the press, sometimes we have and it isn’t fully stated, or there may be on-going private matters.

I knew when I started here that there were high profile concerns and reviews especially about our maternity and neonatal services, but very early on I was able to see for myself the commitment to improve, led by highly committed clinical and support staff.

Also from the beginning I have met and regularly communicated with the families who have bravely and resolutely campaigned to find out why a number of mothers and babies died in our maternity and neonatal services.  Concerns have been heard, and the Independent Investigation chaired by Dr Kirkup is due to report its findings later this year. 

I am far from complacent but believe we are heading in the right direction. However sometimes despite best efforts, it can feel the Trust is 'under siege' and I know some individual members of staff are feeling the pressure of repeated and constant reviews and investigation. On some days this is how I too feel.

Recently you may have seen comments that we are not prepared to answer questions relating to past failings in maternity services – this is not an accurate reflection. We remain fully committed to supporting the Independent Investigation and the on-going Police investigation.  We will continue to meet families affected by the past failures, but we hope you understand that we will not be seeking ‘media’ or public acknowledgment for doing so.

I don’t want to single them out by name, this week I met with a senior clinical member of staff who told me about the impact on them personally through the intense scrutiny they have experienced over the last few years. This is a real concern to me, as was hearing about new staff joining who have commented on already being affected by past issues.

Yesterday, I met again with a parent of one of the babies whose death will be looked at as part of the investigation being led by Dr Kirkup.  His continued and focussed drive to get at the truth is clear to see and I and the Trust will continue to do all we can to support efforts to give him and the other families the answers they want and deserve.

Equally I am clear that I also need to ensure that our staff feel accurately informed and when necessary supported by the Trust – I am continuing to discuss with colleagues how we can ensure, during what will continue to be an intense period of activity for the Trust, that we fully support you all as well as continuing to celebrate, recognise and share your many successes.

If as a staff member you are ever unsure as to what lies behind a headline or comment, or hear a rumour and you are concerned, please do not hesitate to contact me. Together with my team, we will do our very best wherever we can to share details with you.

Public engagement – better care together takes to the road

As a final reminder, tomorrow sees the start of further engagement with the public as part of our better care together strategy. Clinicians and staff from the Trust and our two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be at Lancaster Town Hall, between 10am – 12:30 and 2.30pm – 5pm. 

As we did at the recent drop in sessions for staff, further details on the progress being made to review services will be shared, together with discussing the next steps to transform local health care.

Thank you to those colleagues giving up their personal time this weekend to deliver these events, both from the Trust and the CCGs.

You can find out more information on the dates, times and venues from the better care together website:


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 7 March 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.


As you will know from last week’s Friday message, Jackie is on leave this week therefore I am very pleased to write today’s message.

Further improving services

Every Tuesday, the Executive Directors meet to discuss a wide range of matters, ranging from the long term strategy, through to operational matters, feedback from our visits to wards and departments, and reviewing and commenting on proposals from staff.

As part of this week’s meeting, we were able to discuss proposals to further improve our Stroke services with clinical and managerial colleagues. The national statistics for Stroke is quite shocking. According to the Stroke Association, there are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year. That is more than one every five minutes. With this in mind, it is pleasing to receive business cases from our Divisions about further improving such vital services for our communities. This particular service development is focusing on how we can continue to improve the care and outcomes for our patients through the introduction of seven-day working.

The business case was approved, including the recruitment of additional Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) to enable the seven-day service to be embedded.

I know the Division will now be working hard to implement these plans and will share the details of these positive changes with you all.

Better care together – it’s our strategy

In recent Friday messages, Jackie has talked about better care together, our strategy for transforming services, ensuring the people of South Cumbria and North Lancashire have the very best health care services, not just now, but well into the future.  I thought it would be useful to comment further on this, especially as I am still relatively new to the Trust – ten weeks in!  Better care together has, for some time, been seen as another entity or body but it isn’t.  Better care together is very much part the Trust.

My request to you all, especially those leaders that hold team meetings with their staff, is to keep better care together on your agendas. More and more information is coming out on how plans are evolving, not least through these updates, staff briefings, team brief, etc, and it’s important that this information gets to all staff. If you need more information, or someone to assist at a meeting, please let me know. We are here to help.

This week, we started another series of briefing sessions for staff to find out more about better care together. I know you are all really busy people but I would recommend that even if you can only spare 30 minutes to try to make the sessions. It’s ok to bring your lunch along! If you haven’t seen them, the details of the dates and times of the sessions can be accessed by clicking here. We have a number of drop-in sessions today, 12-3pm in the Boardroom at WGH, starting each hour, and another session on Monday at RLI, again 12-3pm in the lecture theatre.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Patient and public feedback

In January this year, in partnership with local GPs, we held a listening event in Barrow. The purpose was to give the public the opportunity to come along in an evening, outside of a healthcare setting, and meet some of the local people who provide their health services and share their own experiences of health care in Barrow.

Together with GPs from Barrow, we are holding our second listening event on Monday 24 March, at 6pm at Forum 28 in Barrow’s town centre. 

As a Board, we have already committed attendance at the next event and we would be very pleased if a number of staff from FGH, or our other hospitals, could join us and take part. The format allows the public to sit with staff in small groups, rather in one big gathering, and spend the hour listening to their experiences. At the end of the hour, the groups can then provide feedback.

What’s key is what we do with this information. At the next event we will be asking the public how they would like to receive feedback on any action taken as a result of what we heard.

We have also started to discuss how we can deliver similar events right across our area, and again will be asking for support from those staff based at our other hospitals.

This is a great opportunity, outside of your normal workplace, to receive feedback on the services we provide and together, further develop and improve them.

If you feel that you can spare an hour or two and would like to take part, together with our GP colleagues, please email who will confirm details.

As a final note, I wanted to pass on my thanks for everyone that got involved with NHS Change Day. It is easy to be cynical about such activities, however the purpose of NHS Change Day is to take a look at ourselves, whatever our roles and say: “What can I do better?” – and sometimes, it is the smallest things that make the biggest difference to our patients and colleagues. Well done to you all.


Aaron Cummins
Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive

Friday Message - 28 February 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

Firstly, thank you for the feedback I’ve been receiving on the Friday message, I really do appreciate it. I’m taking it all on board and welcome your comments.  Just drop me a line with your thoughts.

Better care together - our plan for transforming services together

We meet with Monitor, our regulator on a regular basis, and this week we were pleased to welcome them to WGH, together with leaders from the NHS England Local Area Team and our local commissioners.  We talked about a number of key areas such as quality, our performance and our strategy for improvement and transformation, better care together.

Better care together is our plan, our strategy for the future. It is our strategy for transforming services, ensuring the people of South Cumbria and North Lancashire have the very best health care services, not just now, but well into the future.  Better care together is progressing well and taking good shape.  We are still working towards having solutions available for you all to look at around June this year.

Right now we are in the process of working with our partners to look at those services that take place outside of our hospitals, such as primary and community care – looking at how in the future, we can all work together as a local health economy in a much more effective and integrated way. We want you all to know how this work is coming along and there a number of activities planned to do this.  Over the coming weeks, starting Monday, we have a series of drop in sessions across our hospitals.  Details have been shared with divisions, and you can also find out more from the link at the end of this email.

I know everyone is busy, but please try to find the time to come along, even if you can only spare 30 minutes. It is your chance to find out more and put your comments and questions to some of the people involved.  It is an exciting time and we want as many people as possible to get involved.

Recent feedback and experience from staff and patients

As you know, I visit as many areas of the hospital as possible each week.  After recently spending time on the Grizedale unit at WGH, it was good to do the same at oncology at RLI and speak to the team and patients.  Someone in the department said to me that “we have a first class crew, but a tired old ship” – and I would agree.  It was clear we have a professional and dedicated team, but the facility is no longer suitable and must be improved.  I will take this forward and discuss with my executive colleagues. 

Whilst at Lancaster I was also able to spend time on Ward 39, which has recently been subject to scrutiny by the CQC.  I was able to meet with some patients, who told me about how busy the unit is, but they felt it was calm and that they were receiving good care.  Mary Shimwell and her team are making good progress on the ward, staffing is now up to the full establishment and relieving some the recent pressure experienced.

I also spent time in the day unit at WGH with Wendy and her team.  I had the opportunity to have a good look around, talk to Wendy and members of her team about experiences in the unit and how they would like to further improve things. The day unit if you don’t know it is tucked away in one of the side corridors at WGH, but with good patient access. The unit sees some of our most frail and elderly patients and not a surprise, provides an extremely welcoming experience.  But the unit looks tired. I’ve listened to the comments made and I wanted to let the team know that I have requested details on replacing the 20 year old carpet and the seating improvements they asked about.  I will ensure they are updated on progress.

Recognising excellence

This week we celebrated achievements of many of our staff.  We held two events, at the RLI and FGH.  The events recognised the dedication and commitment of our colleagues who have worked in the NHS for 25, 35 and 40 years, as well as those from across the Trust that have completed some form of formal training over the last year.

These events are important, we don’t take the work of our staff for granted, I know people are working extremely hard across all areas of the Trust. And I know that it does feel extremely pressured at the moment. These events are an opportunity to step back for a moment and express our sincere appreciation – well done to everyone.

Every time I visit the RLI it is clear how difficult the configuration of the site makes delivering services.  It clear to us all, that the issues around parking, the disparity in the quality of the buildings, the difficulty of travelling and communicating effectively across the sites makes the job so much harder. This makes the case for better care together, our reason for transforming services even more compelling to me.

Engagement – involving not just informing

I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but thank you to Dr Karnad, Consultant Anaesthetist and Vice Chair of the Medical Staffing Committee for his feedback and suggestions on communications and engagement. Great to see this leadership in action with suggestions on how we can all work together to improve our culture.

Whilst I have been involved in regular conversations with our consultants, we haven’t had a formal schedule of events planned, I am pleased that we now have a series of meetings for the next 12 months, where we can get together and discuss a number of extremely important issues such as our Patient Safety and Quality Strategy and our clinical strategy, better care together.  I am looking forward to meeting our consultants again on Tuesday 25 March.

Ombudsman report

You will be aware from the email I sent to all staff yesterday, the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has published a report, concerning four historical complaints about the Trust.

You can access our full statement in response to this report from the link at the end of this email.

I thought it would be helpful to explain who the PHSO is. The PHSO is there to help anyone who is unhappy with how the NHS in England, a government department or another public service has dealt with their complaint. The service is free to use, open to everyone and completely independent. They are not part of Government or any of the organisations they investigate complaints about.

The PHSO are a complaint handler, not an inspector or a regulator. However, they do make sure that regulators (such as the Care Quality Commission) and professional bodies are informed about its work.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read this week’s Friday message and I look forward to your feedback. You can email me direct on  I am on leave next week; however you will still receive a Friday message from Aaron Cummins, Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive.



Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 21 February 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel

This is a copy of my "Friday Message". As well as visiting wards and departments most weeks, I also provide a written update each week to our staff, governors and volunteers.

As I mentioned last week, the idea of the ‘Friday Message’ is for me to share with you important matters from the last week, as well as helping to reduce the number of ‘all user emails’ you have all been receiving. The ‘Friday Message’ will vary each week and could range from good news stories, to important information about the Trust I would like to share with you.  

Flu Fighter awards

This week, we attended the National Flu Fighter awards as finalists in the ‘Most Improved flu fighter campaign’ category. Our nomination for this award came after the Flu Fighter team found new ways of engaging with staff, which led to an outstanding increase in uptake of the vaccination amongst frontline staff by over a third – from 40.9 per cent in 2012/13 to 64.1 per cent.

Members of the Occupational Health team and a couple of our link nurses went along to the awards ceremony to find out the result. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the award but just being nominated for a national award is a fantastic achievement.

I’ll look forward to seeing what new ideas we come up with next year to ensure we vaccinate even more staff!

Trust Board meeting

The next public Trust Board meeting is taking place at 10am, on Wednesday 26 February, in the Boardrooms at WGH. Agenda items include an update report from the Chair and I, a Better Care Together update and an update regarding the Independent Investigation into Maternity and Neonatal Services. All staff are invited to attend and observe the meeting.

NHS Change Day

NHS Change day is a fantastic initiative, which started only last year, and looks to harness the collective energy, creativity and ideas of thousands of people, with the aim of improving the care and wellbeing of everyone who uses our healthcare services.

This year, NHS Change Day is taking place on 3 March, and we are aiming to get 1,000 pledges from across the Trust. This is something we can all be involved in and I would encourage you all to make a pledge which describes what you can do to ensure you always provide the highest standards of safety and quality for our patients.

The Trust Board and I will certainly be getting involved and making our pledges. Make sure you look out for the pledge cards which will be circulated across the Trust over the next week.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Friday Message - 14 February 2014

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Posted by JackieDaniel


From Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive

Welcome to our first “Friday message” – a replacement to the growing number of ‘all user’ emails that are sent across the Trust, often as ‘corporate communication’ or ‘Trust notification’ messages. Many of you have told me that there are too many of these, therefore, as from today, we will be combining all of these emails into one update, with links to the individual messages.

There will be exceptions to the rule; however, we will look to ensure these are kept to an absolute minimum.  We are counting on everyone’s support with this and ensuring that other established methods of communicating are used first wherever possible, such as weekly news, team briefs, team meetings, notice boards etc.

As part of the Friday message emails, I will whenever appropriate use it as an opportunity to update you all on relevant issues of the day, as the first Friday message, I would like to take a bit more of your time than normal by email, and share with you all an update and my thoughts on a number of important areas.

Commitment of staff

Whether you work direct with patients, or provide one of our essential support services, I am clear that you are all doing an incredible job day in, day out.  I know we have a committed workforce, and I would never take this commitment for granted. We know that staffing levels need further improvement in several areas of our hospitals, Sue Smith, our Executive Chief Nurse, has reviewed this across our Trust and is very clear about the need for safe minimum levels of staffing.

At our Board meeting last month, we made the commitment to publish the staffing levels of all of our wards by 1 April 2014. We believe it is important that we are as open and transparent as we can be with staff, patients and the public, to help everyone feel confident that that we are fulfilling this essential requirement. It is also important that where we are not meeting the required staffing levels, to share with you all what we are doing about it.

I fully respect and support the role of our regulators, they are an essential part of providing assurance to everyone who uses our hospitals on the standards of safety and quality being provided – but our first line of assurance is you, our staff, volunteers and governors.  I want all staff to feel they can raise concerns at any time and without fear, in the first instance to their manager, or with Sue or I directly. 

Role of senior leaders and the Board

Senior managers, leaders and the Board of Directors are here to support all staff, volunteers and governors, and to create the right environment so that we can all give our best.

We have done a lot of work to improve any disconnect that previously existed between the ‘ward and the board room’ – such as the introduction of clinicians to lead our clinical services.  But there is much more we can do to ensure we are connected and in touch with staff and patients. Over the last 12 months or so the Board has been engaged in regular leadership walks, visiting wards and departments across the Trust to find out about the pressures and issues staff are facing, and also to hear first-hand from patients and relatives about their experience in our hospitals. This week, I have agreed with the executive team how we will increase this activity to ensure that each week we are all spending time with staff and patients around our hospitals.  I will also be asking for the same commitment of all our senior leaders at Ward Manager level and above. 

This action will mean that each week, around 450 hours of time from the Board, senior managers and leaders across our organisation will be spent concentrating on the experience of our patients and colleagues.  Some of you will already be doing it and that’s great, you now need to assist your colleagues to do the same, perhaps visiting new departments and areas you are unfamiliar with.

Future plans

Thank you to everyone who attended the recent staff and team briefings. Many of you will have heard more about the future plans for the organisation, for those of that couldn’t make these, your Managers will be delivering divisional Team Briefings over the coming days, however I felt it would beneficial to also share a summary here.

What will the future of our clinical services look like? As you might imagine designing clinical services which will be robust for years to come and which we can deliver within the finances we have is not an easy job. The fact that we have three main sites serving populations with different needs and some distance apart presents us with a fairly unique challenge!

We began the work of reviewing and redesigning our future clinical services under the “better care Together” (BCT) programme over a year ago. As we started the work we also began to understand that in order to design the right hospital services for the future, we would also need to review what services we would need to have in place in the community and in primary care (out of hospital). Patients do not think about their healthcare needs in terms of different NHS organisations, why should they. What we know, is that when a patient visits a GP, they want any care that follows it such as referral to a hospital to be joined up and seamless, enabling them to access the right care, at the right time and place for them.

Over the last few months we have been working with our Commissioners (Clinical Commissioning Groups / CCGs) to extend the design process to ‘out of hospital’. This will mean that by the early summer of this year we will have a set of proposals for care for our populations of South Cumbria and North Lancashire.

The detail of those proposals isn’t yet clear. However there are a number of important principles which will drive the justification for change:

  • The NHS payment system is based on an average price, based on an “average” hospital. For several reasons, I am sure many of you will agree, we do not fall into the average category. We have twice the number of hospital sites than the “average”; we have about half the number of patients being seen and treated at those sites compared with the “average”, finally the distance between the hospital sites is around double the “average”. So you can see we are far from “average” – and we aspire, not to be “average”.
  • What this means is that we currently run services with the income for an average hospital, but in reality we are required to provide at least two sets of emergency care staffing rotas – we have two or three sets of boilers and heat, light and building costs to pay for. Consequently our staffing, infrastructure costs etc. are all stretched beyond those in the “average” hospital.
  • There are a number of ways this can be resolved – including being paid more to provide our services which better reflects our circumstances, or bringing services together on fewer sites. We can of course also continue to look for more effective and efficient ways to deliver care – something all hospitals even those “average” ones will have to continue to do.


This last point is not new, following the last update from better care together you will have read articles in the press suggesting a “super hospital” could now be built in Kendal. No decisions have been made; we simply want to be as clear and as open as we can be as we progress, however in doing so we know people may get carried away!  I wish to echo the comments of other colleagues, it is not about providing a ‘super’ hospital in the future, it is about providing super care for all – how we achieve that is yet to be decided, and you will all have the opportunity to have a say.

There are no quick fixes to this conundrum. The structural problems though must be resolved once and for all. They have existed for a long time – but we cannot keep simply stretching the elastic, as there comes a point where it snaps.

We are improving but still have a way to go

I see and hear the evidence of improvement most days I come into work. The majority of the indicators and things we use to measure ourselves against are improving. Whilst this is great, I am not complacent and I know there is much more we need to do. Our staff survey for last year would appear to be improving with a much more positive response, we have more nurses and doctors employed across our hospitals this year compared to last, complaints are fewer and we are responding more quickly.

Change of the scale we require doesn’t happen overnight and it will take a little longer before we are comparing our performance with the best hospitals in the country. To help us continue to improve it is vital that we set ourselves a number of goals to aim for over the next couple of years.

We will publish our Quality Improvement Strategy in April this year – this will set out our trajectory for improvement and be very clear where our focus will be over the next few years. We want to improve not only day to day experience of care in our hospitals but also outcomes of that care.

We will at the same time roll out a patient experience feedback system called “I want great care” across all our wards and departments. In time this will allow patients and visitors to our hospitals to rate their experience and provide real time feedback which we will publish. This will give us the best indication of how we are doing and give us the feedback we need to continue to improve.

I appreciate that this is a long message and future emails will not be as long!

Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

November video blog

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Posted by woodfordp

Sorry, posted a little later than we would have liked. Video from our Chief Executive, one year on.

Phil, Communications team



Christmas time blog

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Posted by JackieDaniel

Jackie at WGHI want to take this opportunity to wish all of our staff a very happy and healthy Christmas.  I hope that whether you are working over the festive period or not, you will find the time and space to enjoy this time with family and friends. 

Thank you for all your efforts and support over the last 12 months.  There is no doubt that we have strengthened our performance and delivered higher standards of care and that is down to you.  It has been a challenging year as we continue to rebuild our reputation and set out our strategy for the future in a context of a difficult economic climate and rising expectations of our healthcare system.

Whilst developing our future strategy – “Better Care Together”, I have been struck by the overwhelming support for the NHS and our services.  The anxiety over access to high quality services is palpable as both the Health Service professionals and the public as taxpayers and patients have very difficult questions about a sustainable model of healthcare and the changes we need to make. 

“Better Care Together” continues and will enter its final phase during 2014.  Although the potential solutions are not worked through in detail, I think that they will offer a vibrant and much more sustainable model of services as we look at developing primary, community and hospital services together.  The services need to be much more joined up in order to prevent the patients we serve suffering as they fall between parts of the services.

Staff often talk to me about their anxieties about the future.  What is clear to me is that our services will continue to thrive into the future.  As we look at joining together hospital and community services, the way we provide services will change.  The same is true as we start to deliver 7 day working in our hospitals.  There are so many positives to embrace as we shape services to give the best possible care to our populations.

It is vital that you feel part of that change and play a full role in shaping it.  There will be opportunities in the early part of 2014 for you to contribute so please get involved and attend the sessions and workshops that will be announced in the New Year.

I begin 2014 with a complete Executive Team and both the team and I want to be as visible as possible.  I have absolutely no doubt that people have not seen me around enough and I have spent too much time in meetings but I also have a sense through my conversations with colleagues that all our organisations are experiencing the same in every respect.  It is a time of uncertainty and personal responsibility for us all.  It is daunting, it is challenging, it is rewarding – it is the NHS. 

I can say with honesty that I look forward to next year as we continue to improve what we do, build stronger relationships together and with our partners, with a view to being the best that we can possibly be.

In February 2014 we will be one of the ‘second wave’ of hospital trusts to be visited by the new CQC Hospital Inspection Teams.  Am I worried?  Of course, however hard one works and however committed to doing the right things, it is always anxiety provoking to be scrutinised by others.  We are on a journey in our Trust; currently we are a middling performer overall but with aspirations to keep moving forward.  We think we are doing the right things, choosing the right priorities and operating in the right way but we are open to learning how to be better. 

Managed correctly, the findings of the visit will help us to support our Trust to become even better.  The importance of the 5 domains (well led / responsive / caring / effective / safe) is unarguable and a balanced assessment of our performance against these will be difficult for even the most hardened opponent of change to resist. 

Have a happy Christmas and I look forward to working with you to be the best that we can be in 2014.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Flu Fighters

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Posted by JackieDaniel

Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive getting her Flu JabWe may not officially be in winter yet, but it certainly feels like it as the weather changes!  As a Trust we are well into our ‘winter planning’ preparations – as you will be aware, hospitals come under great pressure during the winter months for a wide variety of reasons.

As a member of staff, I believe that we have a professional responsibility to ensure we do everything we can to ensure services remain safe and resilient over this period. Hospital staff - front line and support having their flu jab is an important part of the planning.

This means today’s blog is about flu – I know that when we hear the word “flu” we can think “I don’t fancy the flu jab” or “I must have the vaccination because I`ve had flu before and it was just awful”.

This year we have been set the target to get 75% of all front line workers to be vaccinated, so far, we have managed to vaccinate 36.7% of the 3,166 members of staff deemed as frontline staff.  This is around four times as many against the same time last year.

For the majority of people who catch it, flu is unpleasant. But for some it can lead to a whole host of problems ranging from chest infections to severe complications, and even death. We don’t want ourselves as staff to suffer, or our friends and family (no-one will thank you for passing on the flu to them) and we don’t want to share it with our patients.

In the past people have said to me, “I don`t need it Jackie: I`m healthy and I never catch a cold or flu”, but it’s not just about keeping yourself safe, it’s about protecting your fellow colleagues, your family, friends and your patients. Unfortunately you can carry and pass the virus on to others without having any symptoms yourself, so even if you consider yourself fighting fit, you might inadvertently be risking the health of others.

The good news is that we can all avoid it with a simple flu vaccine.  Despite the myths and rumours that abound I can assure you that the flu vaccine is safe. A popular but untrue rumour is that the flu jab will vaccinate flu into a person and give them flu: the truth is that it’s impossible to get flu from having the flu jab because the vaccine doesn’t contain live viruses. If you are one of a very small number of people who have had the vaccine previously and then experienced side effects such as aching muscles, what you are really experiencing is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine: it’s working. So rest assured, for the most part, seasonal flu vaccine side effects are mild or non-existent and they are nothing like having the real flu.

If you have had your vaccination already: a big thank you as you are helping to fight flu, if you haven’t booked your vaccination yet please help yourself, your work colleagues, family, friends and patients by having your vaccination. All you need to do is take a look at the list of drop in sessions which we have arranged at the Occupational Health Departments across all sites and take time to go and have this vaccination.

It’s just as important that our patients and their families ensure they are vaccinated too. The flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications. If have any queries about the vaccine, visit or contact your GP.

I hope you like the picture of me having my flu vaccination courtesy of Kirk Panter, Staff Side Chair!  I was very pleased that my Board colleagues joined me last week in also receiving their jabs from Mary Moore, Deputy Chief Nurse and Kirk.

Finally, thank you to all of those staff who have to date had their flu jab, well done – I am looking forward to many more staff joining me over the coming weeks and becoming a Flu Fighter!

Kind regards

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Supporting staff to raise concerns

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Posted by JackieDaniel

Jackie Daniel Cheif ExecutiveIn my last blog I updated on the Trust’s commitment to supporting staff who raise the alarm and of our intention to introduce ‘safety stations’.

You can read the previous blog here.

I am very pleased that during October will be seeing the first phase of this initiative come to life with the installation of the staff stations. Our aim is that early in the New Year we will start to roll out a similar scheme for the public and patients.

Our Associate Medical Directors and Deputy Chief Nurses have made the commitment that each Monday they will read any concerns that are submitted and look into them.  In addition, each month they will review them with a local GP and issue a bulletin letting staff know of any action taken, the bulletin won’t reveal any names or personal information.

This system isn’t to replace any of the existing ways of reporting a concern. Our Whistleblowing policy makes it very clear that staff will be supported if they raise concerns regarding poor practice or standards of care.

Whether they are a permanent employee, an agency, or temporary staff member, or a volunteer, we want them to have the confidence to speak up when they feel something is wrong.

Poster Campaign for safety.jpgIt would be remiss of me not to say thank you firstly to the member of the public who gave us this idea and also thank you to our clinical leaders for taking the idea and further developing it into something which I believe will make a positive difference for our patients.

I will keep you informed how we get on and with the developments in the New Year.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Speak out Safely

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Posted by JackieDaniel

SOSlogo.jpgI am really pleased that we have been able to sign up to the Nursing Times Speak out Safely campaign, which aims to promote the importance of healthcare staff speaking out when they see poor care, in the knowledge their employer will protect and support them for doing so.

I know it takes a brave person to put their hand up and raise the alarm and say they are concerned.  However, I really do want to reassure the public, staff and patients that if any member of our staff raises the alarm in our Trust, this Trust Board will support them fully.

I understand that staff may worry over making what turn out to be false accusations and our whistleblowing policy is clear on this matter. To emphasise the point, I’d like to repeat some of it here:  “ If you raise a genuine concern by this policy, you will not be at risk of losing your job or suffering any form of retribution as a result. Providing you are acting in good faith, it does not matter if you are mistaken.” I hope this will give staff confidence that if they genuinely believe something is wrong, they will be supported – even if it turns out not to be accurate.

With all that in mind, it is also important to have support methods in place for those people that want to raise issues anonymously. We will shortly be launching a number of initiatives for other ways to raise a concern – some of them with an option of doing it anonymously should they wish to.

One of these initiatives is based on a suggestion from a member of the public and will involve us placing concern boxes in discreet areas around our sites, together with reply cards. This means that whatever time of the day, staff will be able to post a concern regarding the safety or quality of care for anyone using our hospitals. We guarantee that each and every one of them will be read personally by the Associate Medical Director and Deputy Chief Nurse for each of our hospitals and will be treated seriously and followed up. We will have clear signage so staff know when we will be checking the boxes, as well as what to do if a concern cannot wait.

Our intention after trialling this is to introduce ‘Safety and Quality Stations’ in public areas across all of our sites. I will be announcing more details on these soon.

I know that we all want the very best for our patients and as leaders, it is our job to support and encourage our staff,  governors, and volunteers to feel confident that their concerns will be treated seriously and acted upon. No matter what our staff tell us in relation to genuine concerns they have about any aspect of care that is being provided to our patients, we will protect them. That is my promise to them.

You can find out more about the pledge we have made and the Speak out Safety campaign from our website:


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

Blog - 3 June 2013

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Posted by JackieDaniel

One thing that I have learnt from my time in the NHS is that you cannot be visible enough as a leader.  All of the surveys that we have carried out over the last year remind me of this. As a new Trust Board it is essential that we are out and about around all of our wards and departments on a regular basis, it is the only way to ensure you stay grounded and in touch with what’s happening on the front line.  A report can tell you a lot, but often nowhere as much as a patient, or a nurse or doctor working in on the wards.

I visit all of our hospitals on a regular basis, dropping into wards and departments to speak to staff and I encourage all staff to do the same. Like all NHS managers I often attend too many meetings, therefore I will soon be launching a forum for operational staff, to meet with me at each hospital, each month to discuss issues that they are facing locally. This isn’t going to be too formal, there won’t be any need for staff to write papers and deliver presentations, just for staff to spend time discussing their local hospital for the benefits of patients.

I’ve spoken and written before about the ‘leadership tree’, that leadership comes from all different parts of an organisation and that we all have a role to play.  Recently, initial plans were announced for staff within the department of health to spend time on ‘work placements’ on the front line, up to 20 days a year.  I am sure there will be much debate around this, but it did start me thinking if this would be a good system to introduce across our hospitals for all non-patient facing staff?  20 days is a lot, but it is less than 2 days a month dedicated to learning what goes on and understanding the issues staff face on a daily basis.  I can think of several challenges around this, but not sure the challenges would outweigh the benefits? I would be very interested in your thoughts on this.

We were very pleased last month to welcome our first baby into the brand new, purpose built Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) within the Furness General Hospital’s Maternity Unit.

The location of the new SCBU allows staff to work more closely with maternity staff on the Post Natal Ward. Some babies who previously would have been admitted to SCBU (such as those needing only minimal additional support for feeding or keeping warm) can now be cared for at their mother’s bedside instead. This will help parents stay close to their babies whilst they are on the Maternity Unit.

There is also a new modern family room facility in the unit, which means that parents who need to stay with their baby whilst on SCBU can be accommodated in modern surroundings.

I know the design team and all of the staff involved in the service worked incredibly hard to deliver these improvements – it made all of the difference to see a family interviewed on TV praising the new unit, not just for the positive publicity we received, but for the difference it will make to families for many years to come.

I would like to finish this blog with a connected story that you may have seen. I am sure it will continue to receive national and international attention for a long time to come, The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care is situated within The Royal United Hospital in Bath. (

The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care opened its doors on 23 July 2011, two years on, a report is about to be published (following peer review) with some interesting results, you can watch the BBC report on the unit here:

Some of the early indications from the benefits of the design are being reported as:

  • The report found the amount of time mothers spent breast-feeding had increased from 64 per cent to 90 per cent by comparing data collected from the old neonatal ward at RUH to the new one.
  • By reducing noise levels, the low-stress environment is also said to have increased the amount of time babies slept by an average of 22 per cent.
  • Nurses are said to be spending roughly 20 per cent more time with their patients than they were previously, due to the consideration given to the ward’s layout.

As I say, the report is yet to be finalised and I am sure whatever the results will make important reading. Well done to everyone involved, inspiring.



Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

A thank you to Molly

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Posted by woodfordp

It doesn’t matter at what level you are involved in healthcare; a nurse changing a dressing, a chef preparing meals, or a switchboard operator directing calls – we all have a vital role to play in the experience of our patients.  Rightly or wrongly, it is difficult to open the paper, turn on the radio or watch the television without the NHS featuring for one reason or another.

I genuinely believe that everyone in our hospitals comes into work each day to do a good job, in often difficult circumstances and wants the very best for our patients.  Walking the wards on a regular basis reminds me of this, I know we don’t always get it right, and sometimes the level of care provided just isn’t good enough, but we are working extremely hard to get it right, first time every time for the benefit of all our patients. 

This isn’t going to be a long blog.  I watched a video recently of student nurse Molly Case, at the RCN Congress.  To Molly I would like to offer my personal thank you for presenting our profession in such an honest, caring and compassionate way and saying what I am sure many of my colleagues would like to. Please take a moment to watch the video of Molly:




Easter 2013

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Posted by JackieDaniel

I am writing this blog on the eve of one of the most significant changes in the NHS. When I return from the Easter break next week, a series of new organisations will have come into being. These include Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the Local Area Teams (LATs) the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) and NHS Commissioning Board North Team. The scale of the change is massive, and at a time when the NHS is facing some of the most significant challenges in its history.

[The NHS structure explained: NHS Choices]

All of this organisational change is confusing for staff and even more confusing for the public. However I am feeling quietly optimistic. This is because at the end of the day people do business with people who represent their respective organisations and not with organisations themselves. This is an obvious statement to make – but I hear too many times people talking about or referring to “the organisation” or “the Trust” or “the CCG”. This is particularly true when things are not going well or there is blame involved. I always ask – “who in the organisation are you referring to”.

For me, it’s all too easy to talk about organisations simply as objects. As I know they are full of staff the vast majority of whom are vibrant talented individuals doing a great job. Being the CEO of an organisation carries a huge degree of responsibility but I for one recognise that I cannot make the changes I need to make without the support from staff, the public, our governors, the media, the MPs and from the partners I work with in the health and social care system. I feel fortunate to work with people in all of those groups who are talented and committed to making the improvements we have to make in our organisation over the next few years.

This is not to say we all agree with one another all of the time, of course we don’t. It is like family life which has its ups and downs, disagreements and so on. But at the end of the day there is recognition that together the family is stronger, happier, and healthier.

So, as I return to work in the “new world” I will look forward to continuing the improvement journey and I have a genuine sense that our partners wherever they sit in the new structure will work together to deliver the improvements we need to make. I know we all share the desire to continuously improve the experience of patients.

Internally staff are working incredibly hard to achieve our aims. I am looking forward to working with around 50 staff who have volunteered to work with me. These staff are from all corners of the organisation and have agreed to “step up” and lead a programme of work to encourage others across our hospitals to do the same and make a real difference. The work will begin in April, and I am sure the group will want to focus on many things. Topics I am already aware of include staff culture and behaviour; opportunities to work with and learn from other organisations and opportunities to develop their leadership skills whatever level they work in the organisation.

I have spoken previously about the “leadership tree” which extends across the hospital sites, across Divisions and specialties. This work will be shared during the next month. It is our opportunity to explain to staff, the public, and our partners how accountability is discharged in our hospitals. I hope it will provide a map for patients and staff of who to speak to if they have a concern. It will highlight those leaders who at the moment often seem invisible. We have recently appointed a team of substantive Clinical Directors who will lead each of the Division. The Trust committed to putting clinicians at the heart of decision making and that is what we have done. These leaders are supported by an army of leaders from all groups of staff and the leadership tree when its published next month will illustrate this.

So, our task can seem daunting. We have further improvements we have to gain in the quality of care we provide and we have a very challenging cost improvement programme which we must achieve if we are to be a sustainable hospital Trust and thrive in the future. At the same time as delivering improved quality and reducing costs. We are working with our CCGs, staff, partners and the public to determine how our clinical care services will be delivered in the future. A tall order only made possible by every member of staff contributing, really pulling together and delivering the improvements we can and not arguing about what we cannot.

I hope whatever you have planned you manage to have some relaxation, peace and enjoyment over the Easter break.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

February 2013

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Posted by louisefleming

Preparing for a recent radio interview with BBC Radio Cumbria provided me with a healthy reminder of just how much is happening across the Trust.  One of the greatest challenges I face is in communicating effectively with staff, patients and the public, MP’s, our partners in Local Authorities and so on.

Recently I have spoken about “The Leadership Tree”.  The Leadership Tree is made up of many branches of Leaders – from the Trust Board and including Trust Governors, Divisional Teams, Ward and Department Teams and the thousands of individual leaders we have across the Trust.  It is important that the leaders in the system firstly recognise the valuable leadership role they play, (and this is not about hierarchy or titles) and that other people inside and out of the organisation know about the contribution they make.

It strikes me that if we are able to be clear about our strategy moving forward and then can connect with and utilise the momentum and skill of those people who make up our Leadership Tree – we are much more likely to succeed. 

To this end, I am currently developing new leadership groups and opportunities to “connect” – I hope that all staff will feel able to contribute in some way.

I recently had feedback from a senior member of staff that staff did not feel they understood where the organisation is heading.  This comment served as a useful reminder that I need to give clear messages over and over, sometimes using a different narrative depending on the audience.

In my last blog, I set out the broad headings on our journey – moving through stabilisation, through to transition and on to transforming our services.  This journey of improvement will take time and will focus our energy and efforts over the next few years.

During this next year (the Transition Phase) we will be focussing on three things:

  1. Agreeing the options for the way our clinical services will look in the future.  This is work which is being led by our Commissioners in order to deliver safe and sustainable integrated services in the future.  It is an important opportunity to look across the Health & Social Care system and design those services around the needs of the patients, not around organisational institutions.  I want to encourage us to look beyond hospital buildings and create safe and sustainable, high quality care for our population.  We will focus on ensuring that acute services are fit for purpose and with our partners to develop integrated acute, community, primary care services.
  2. Improving efficiency – at the moment we are living way beyond our means and this must be redressed over the next few years.  This year we have a challenging target to meet (£25m).  Looking at the proposals for achieving this I am encouraged that the schemes improve efficiency whilst also improving quality.  These two elements are not incompatible – the reality is we must take care to do both. 
  3. Improve quality – over the last year we have begun to address the issues at the heart of the serious failings which occurred.  During the last six months I have been in post, I have seen improvements in our Maternity and Emergency Care services and in the way we provide care for stroke patients.  I have seen improvements in the length of time people wait in A&E and from referral to treatment.  I have seen improvements to our physical environment – the refurbishment of A&E at Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), new wards opened at RLI, improved Reception areas – including at Furness General Hospital.  We have implemented ‘Booking Hubs’ in our Outpatient Departments and invested heavily in a new secure storage and tracking facility for Patient Records. 

I am aware that we still have a long way to go and we will continue the work to improve further in all these areas.  During the next year we will focus on areas which will further improve the patient experience.

Our Nurses and Allied Health Professionals are currently developing plans to raise the profile of leaders such as our Matrons, Ward Sisters and Charge Nurses.  We want to support our professionals to ensure patients and their friends and family have access to good information, feel well informed and connected to carers.  In essence, we want to develop and support staff to deal with any issues as and when they arise at the front line. 

When I speak to people who have made complaints about their care and treatment, they are often frustrated and upset by the layers of bureaucracy they encounter.  It is my aim, supported by the Trust Board, to tackle this.  In order to do that though, I need the help and assistance of all those leaders on the branches of the “Leadership Tree”.  I am encouraged by the talent and the enthusiasm of staff across the Trust, they are without doubt the most effective first line of assurance regarding patient care.

December 2012 - Four months in

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Posted by JackieDaniel

I can barely believe I have been at the Trust for over four months.  The time has gone so quickly, as is the case when there is so much to do.  During the first few months I have met many staff, governors, GPs, MPs, patients, partner organisations and other stakeholders.  My overriding sense from these conversations is that of a genuine will to improve the care we provide to our patients.  This is a good platform to build on.

 I see the work we have to do in three phases at the moment.  The first phase is about “Stabilising” our current position.

We have been in this phase for much of this year and I see it lasting until the end of the financial year, i.e. March 2013.  In this phase, we have been working to improve the quality issues identified by our regulators, our financial position and making sure we have the right leadership in place to drive progress.  In terms of quality, you heard earlier about the improvements found by the CQC during their recent unannounced visits to Maternity and to Emergency Care.  It was great news that they found that we are now compliant with standards in these areas.  Of course we now need to sustain and indeed improve this position.  I am sure, like me, you are not satisfied with meeting minimum standards but want to exceed these and be among the best performing hospitals in the country.   We had work to do in other areas – for example stroke services, outpatient booking and in relation to our mortality ratings.  I am pleased to report that we are making good progress in all of these areas and this needs to continue.  We have been lagging behind on a number of our national standards too, accident and emergency waiting times and waiting times from referral to treatment. Once again, we are achieving the targets we set ourselves to get back on track as we approach the end of the year.  It is vital we hit and maintain these targets – behind these targets are patients and we should remember this at all times.

As often happens, our short term drive to improve things has meant a surge in costs, which in the medium and long term is not sustainable. The Board of Directors, with key clinical leaders, has been working through the medium and long term financial plans and now has a clear understanding of what we need to do in order to have safe and sustainable services in the future.  More about this later.  Our plans include a level of financial support which we are negotiating with Monitor and the Department of Health.  This is required in the short term to ensure we are able to manage our cash position and also to provide the time necessary to design sustainable models of care and to engage and agree those with our partners and the public.

The second phase is the “Transition” phase. This will run from April 2013 to April the following year. During this time we will be “crafting” our long term strategic plan with all of the people we will need to engage with.  I have mentioned the cornerstone to this work - which is the clinical strategy.  This will involve looking at all the options for the way services could be provided across our hospital sites in the future.  We need to explore all the options - this is a unique opportunity to really make a difference and drive up quality and standards and also to ensure they are affordable long term.  This will, of course, mean we will re-examine all of our underpinning strategies, estates, information management, technology, research and teaching are some examples.

Only when we have completed this work will we move into the “Transformation” phase of our journey.  This will start from April 2014, when we will be in a position to implement the clinical strategy.  This is the time when the agreed changes will change from plan to reality.

In the meantime, we will of course be working to improve what we do day in day out. The Clinical Directors who took up post during the summer last year have made a significant difference to the way we operate. They have been supported well by General Managers and by Senior Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals.  I meet with them regularly and they are working with the Executive Team and I on all the plans to improve services.

We are currently in the process of recruiting to two key Executive Director posts – Director of Governance and Director of Workforce and Organisational Development.  The interviews for these appointments are scheduled in January and I hope, therefore, to have a full substantive team in place at the start of the new financial year.  I have felt very well supported by Sir David Henshaw, our Interim Chairman, and the Non-Executive Directors. Board of Directors meetings are indeed challenging and the Board of Directors have sight and a grasp of the business priorities and actions.  This is further strengthened by our Council of Governors who really add value and will have an important role to play in our future developments.

The biggest challenge is communicating effectively.  I will continue to get out and about as much as possible.  I have arranged for regular staff briefings and to meet with different groups of staff throughout the year.  Not everyone reads blogs such as this, but I will continue with them and also short “You Tube” clips in an attempt to convey the vast amount of things that are happening. It is my intention to provide as many opportunities for staff and stakeholders to get involved – particularly during this next important “Transition” phase where we will be developing our future plans.

As we head towards Christmas – all that remains is for me to wish you a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.  I look forward to working with you on our onward journey – improving care for our patients.


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive


First blog post

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Posted by woodfordp

I want to thank local people for the support you have given your local hospitals and also our staff for their continued dedication and commitment. 

I have worked in the NHS for over 30 years, as a nurse on the front line and as a senior manager.  I care passionately about delivering good quality care and I know that passion is shared by the staff who work in our hospitals.

The people who live across Morecambe Bay deserve high quality, safe services that meet the needs of patients. 

Day in and day out thousands of people have been getting good care in their local hospitals.  However, you have been let down by this Trust in the past.  Quite frankly, levels of care have been unacceptable. 

I’m very pleased that the Care Quality Commission has recently been able to say that our maternity and emergency services are now meeting essential standards. 

It shows that the Trust as a whole is turning the corner in terms of recovery. It is a testament to the hard work of our staff, together with local GPs, the public, Governors and stakeholders.

It is good news but we still have a long way to go before we are providing hospital services we can all be proud of.

The Trust now has a new Board which is providing stronger leadership and a new direction.   However, the most important change in the last few months was to put doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in charge in our hospitals. 

This is already making a big difference to the way the organisation approaches the issues it faces.  It is helping to put patients at the centre of decision making, where they should be.

Some of the more challenging issues will take longer to deal with but they will need to be addressed if we are going to provide the safe, high quality and sustainable services we all want in the longer term.  It will mean making significant changes to the way this Trust provides its services.

We need to consider how we meet the clinical challenges involved in providing high quality services in an area that is fairly sparsely populated.  Spreading the money we get too thinly across the area covered by the Trust has meant that in some cases the services we were providing were simply not good enough.

Advances in health care also mean the way services were provided twenty or even ten years ago is often not the best way to provide those services now or in the future. 

Services should be as local as possible for patients.  However, above all people want to know that those services are safe and high quality.

There are not going to be any easy answers but I believe we have a unique opportunity to get hospital services in this area right for the people who live here. 

A number of groups - involving the GPs who commission our services, this Trust and others - have been set up to review clinical services across Morecambe Bay.    

These are your hospitals so it is also vital that you are involved. 

So how can you get involved?  In the first instance you can become a member of the Trust and talk to the Governors who represent your interests.  Visit our website - – to get more information.

In the New Year we will also be holding a series of roadshow events in each part of the area, so you can talk to managers and staff and find out more about what is happening in your local hospitals.

This will be just the start of an ongoing discussion with you about ensuring we have the best possible hospital services.

My ambition is for this Trust to be among the best in the country. I want our services to be at the leading edge of healthcare delivery and based around the needs of patients.  Above all, I want every patient to feel not just safe but also confident of getting excellent care. 

Kind regards


Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive


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