September 19th 2019 saw another well attended Annual Members' Meeting take place during which innovation and improvement took centre stage – click here for a gallery of the event and continue reading for more.

As has become customary at these events, the formal part of the evening was preceded by a marketplace event where a number of our colleagues had the chance to showcase their improvement projects. Several rooms in the Education Centre were given over to a variety of stalls with interactive displays that illustrated how a particular area of hospital life was improved or introduced for the benefit of our patients and staff.

These included a hi-tech display from a clinical simulation team who use the latest adaptive manikins to accurately recreate any number of clinical emergencies to train our critical care teams in how to react to an emergency situation in a safe environment. Our corporate induction team showed how they have standardised ‘The Royal Way’ induction for nurses to ensure they all receive the same level of information when they first start, no matter where they work and when they join us. Our Environmental team showed what we’re doing to reduce our carbon footprint, there was a Health and Wellbeing demonstration, an insight into the work of our occupational therapists, how we recognise carers and much more.

More than a hundred of our membership, colleagues and public governors were there for that first hour to take in the stalls and speak to those who have made a difference in those areas. It’s the second year the Trust has showcased its improvement journey in this way at the AMM and shows just how importantly the hospital recognises that the expertise we already have at the Royal is the key to innovation and continuing that journey towards a CQC ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Then at 7pm it was time for them to take their seats as the formal part of the AMM began, giving our leaders and divisional directors the chance to run through the last financial year in terms of what went well and areas we need to address this year.

First of all we had an introduction from Chair Helen Phillips who introduced our public governors and shared her personal reflection of the year. She highlighted the performance of all staff, saying that the job of the Board of Directors and Council of Governors was “To serve the people that serve you”  by supporting our staff. The improvements that have been made on our national staff survey results show that we are heading in the right direction but that work still needs to be done to achieve her aim of being in the top quartile for staff survey results.

It was then the turn of our Chief Operating Officer Tony Campbell who echoed those words of thanks to our staff, volunteers and governors before speaking about the Trust’s performance. He had some eye-watering statistics, for example did you know that we saw more than 400,000 patients last year, including 90,000 through the doors of our Emergency Department which is almost 250 every single day? We also managed to save £4.4m through new ways of working, invested £11m in new facilities and equipment and finished the year with a £2m surplus. This all goes to show that during a period of unprecedented pressure on the NHS, the Royal continues to manage its financial affairs well.

We were then introduced to our new Chief Executive Angie Smithson who joined the Royal at the start of September. She began by thanking everyone for such a warm welcome and went on to say that, through a series of ‘#HelloMyNameIsAngie’ sessions, she has personally met well in excess of 300 individuals from all walks of hospital life. Angie has used the sessions to find out what people think about working here, from the positive points to the frustrations as well as the challenges that face the different departments. She is very keen to celebrate the things that we do well but the key to success is by building on it, which tied in very well with the theme of our marketplace event.

Medical Specialities Director Hal Spencer was next on the podium to talk about out three quality improvement priorities which are clinical effectiveness, patient safety and patient experience. We have fifteen key standards of quality performance and met 10 of those last year. We know we need to improve on cancer waiting time standard (62 days), cases of hospital acquired C.diff and the 18 week referral to treatment standard. However we also missed out on hitting MRSA targets when our single, isolated case went above our strict target of zero and the Emergency Department waiting time target. We may have missed out on this but remain above average and one of the best performers in the country so, despite missing the target we remain above the national average.

We then heard from Public Governor Norman Shaw, one of our newest to the role who represents Chesterfield. He talked about his thoughts about the role of the governors, what it’s like being involved without having much previous experience of the NHS and much more. He made way for Ken Godber who, as our new Charity Director, spoke about the importance of raised monies to complementing our own funds by ‘Giving the Gift of Outstanding’ and his wish to encourage local fundraisers to make a difference to local services by giving more support to our charity instead of the big national ones. You can find out more about Ken’s vision by clicking here to watch his video.

Deputy Medical Director and Listening into Action Lead Jon Cort then spoke about our improvement projects alongside Associate Director of Strategy and Performance Maria Riley. Given that it was the subject of our marketplace event, they were able to talk about how staff engagement has led to an increase of innovative ideas as colleagues begin to see that positive change is coming from within. Maria introduced the concept of our Royal Academy of Improvement and how it can bring improvements to life before introducing our video ‘Continuing our Improvement Journey’ which focusses on four of our most recent projects. You can see it in full by clicking here.

There then followed a vibrant and challenging question and answer session where it became very evident that a number of our members in the audience had experienced difficulties in changing, or even making an appointment over the phone. This is an area where some work has been done and some of that work is in the process of bedding in. However, it served to highlight that, through full engagement with our communities and those who use the hospital, we can identify and, subsequently, learn from the things that we are told need to be addressed. Appointments and access to making appointments is now something that has become the focus of improvement.

It was a highly successful and educational evening for those who attended and presented and a wonderful example of what an Annual Members Meeting is all about. Giving and receiving information that will help us to improve as we continue on the journey to ‘Outstanding’.

You can view a full gallery from the evening by clicking here.