The Council of Governors (CoG) met in the Trust’s Education Centre from 1.30pm on Wednesday 6th February to discuss a range of topics. The meetings are always held in public and you are welcome to attend and observe proceedings. For those of you who weren’t able to make the meeting, Janice Smith (pictured), who is our Staff Governor for the Nursing and Midwifery Class, gives her account of the meeting below…

“The meeting started with a warm welcome to our four new Governors. We have three new public governors (Frank Bennison, Ann Margett and Norman Shaw, all representing Chesterfield) and one new staff governor, Dr Ruth Bentley who will be representing her colleagues from across Royal Primary Care. It’s great to have Ruth join the team and we now have assurance that staff working across all areas of the Trust, and in the wider community, have a means of ensuring that they have a voice. In addition, Dr Hal Spencer attended the meeting in his new role as Clinical Director, having taken over the reins from Dr Gail Collins. This was also the first CoG outing for our newest Non Exec Director Sue Glew.

As staff governors we had been receiving requests for an up-date on the progress of the Wholly-Owned Subsidiary. Rumours can start to gather pace without updates but the news genuinely is that there is no news as the Trust is still awaiting a response from NHSI.  Director of Finance Lee Outhwaite has acknowledged that this isn’t satisfactory from the perspective of the Trust, staff or other affected stakeholders and is pushing hard to get a definitive answer. He will of course up-date us all as soon as he receives information back from NHSI.

The Council wished to express their disappointment that Simon Morritt, our Chief Executive had announced that he was off to pastures new, taking up a post in York.  Whilst we all wished him well, there is a sense of sadness that he’s leaving quite so soon. Simon explained that he too hadn’t planned to be moving just yet, but had been offered a post he couldn’t refuse.  We all feel that Simon will be leaving us in a much better place than when he started, making the Royal a very attractive proposition for the next candidate. The process of looking for Simon’s replacement will be starting soon and we’ve no doubt that Simon will be kept very busy and on task right until his leaving date!

Meanwhile Simon gave an overview of The NHS Long Term Plan which seems very complex and raises a good number of questions moving forwards that, as yet, we don’t have all the answers for. If you are interested to read more about it, there is a lot of reading material available out there, for more information on this, please download the document at the bottom of the page.

The Royal’s updated People Strategy was discussed with a very clear message: we should keep doing what we are doing, because these strategies are now paying off. Listening into Action (LiA) is well embedded with staff engagement at all levels and across all areas of the Trust. The next LiA showcase event “Pass it on” is planned for the 21st March and promises to wow staff with a range of innovative, exciting and common sense changes in practice that are improving the way we work, interact, engage and care for our patients. Leading the Chesterfield Way is no longer just a phrase we hear, but is being applied and visible across many areas of the Trust. We are doing better than ever in achieving our appraisal targets and involvement of staff in Health and Wellbeing activities is on the up. It’s all really great stuff. Next on the horizon is the greater adoption of digital tools to improve practice, communication and engagement with our patients and partners. Watch this space!

A charitable funds update was given by Non Exec Director and Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee Beverly Webster. The Trust has been incredibly fortunate to receive significant legacy funds with monies spent on diverse projects such as the Royal Rider buggies, which are so appreciated by many of our patients and visitors.  All ward areas now have water fountains for staff, family rooms have been refurbished on wards and we now have access better access to our outdoor spaces and places to sit, such as the picnic tables. There are lots of other great examples of monies being spent to improve the lives of both staff and their patients. We’ve appointed Ken Godber as Charity Director, he takes up the post formally very soon and has masses of enthusiasm and ideas to ensure that our charitable pot stays healthy moving forwards and the process for putting ideas forward from staff is clearer and more accessible. So a plea from Beverley, if you’ve got a brilliant idea for the use of charitable funds, contact Ken, he’ll be pleased to hear from you.

I’ll close with a long standing and much debated issue – smoking on site. As you’ll be aware, the Royal is a no smoking site, a rule that is widely disregarded and a problem that doesn’t have an easy or agreeable answer. The Trust is following national guidance that suggests that e-cigs are a ’lesser of the two evils’ and announced its intention to allow their use on site a few weeks ago. This has been in the local press with varying responses, as you’d imagine. The Governors as body had much to say about this, not least because they hadn’t felt involved in the decision making process and weren’t given the heads up before it went out to the staff and public. All said, it’s a lesson learnt and if any of you have a workable solution for the whole smoking issue, we’d love to hear from you!

As I hope most of you will know, the CoG meetings are open to the public and to staff, giving you the opportunity to ask questions if you had a burning issue to raise. Of course, if you can’t attend and have something on your mind you wish to raise, please contact either your public governor or staff governor who would be happy to ask on your behalf. Click here to contact your Governor.

Copies of the agenda, supporting documents and the minutes from CoG are readily available for the public and staff by clicking here.

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