Hello everyone, happy Friday!
This week, like so many others, I'm going to start with the inevitable winter pressures. I'm glad that we've been able to implement a number of initiatives to help us perform better over these difficult months. Nevertheless, we know there are challenging times ahead. External scrutiny is building with regional and national regulators taking great interest in our performance and plans. I know I say this a lot, but the four-hour standard is an indicator of quality across the whole Trust so it is absolutely imperative that we all make every possible effort to help that standard be met. I know I can rely on all of you to remember that 'every minute matters and every person plays a part'. One of the initiatives we have just implemented is the opening of Ward 19 at Burnley. This is a step down unit supporting patients who can't go home, but who don't need acute medical care, and it will greatly contribute to better flow and more efficient use of acute beds. Our Chairman, Professor Eileen Fairhurst and I popped into Ward 19 to take a look earlier today, and we were well impressed.
Of course, while the four-hour standard and winter pressures are really important, they’re not the only priorities for a busy acute trust. While we were at Burnley today, Eileen and I also welcomed a host of people to check out our progress with Phase 8 of the hospital there. This is such an exciting project and crucial to our services and patients in Burnley, and indeed across East Lancashire. It was brilliant to see our MPs (Andrew Stephenson, Jake Berry and Julie Cooper) attend and take such great interest. They will be able to share the news, and their enthusiasm for it, with their constituents. Former MP Gordon Birtwistle and his wife also came which was especially nice as Gordon was instrumental in securing the funding for Phase 8. The project is on time and the new building is scheduled to open next winter. The building will host a new outpatients department as well as ophthalmology and maxillofacial services. Special thanks to James Maguire and his team, and of course to the developers.
Representatives of the Euro Garages Group were at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital earlier in the week looking at how the equipment they funded for the diabetes team was benefitting both staff and patients. Euro Garages are a great supporter of the Trust and we have a long term relationship with them going forward. We need more corporate support like this and I know our charity team are working on this! I'd like to say a heartfelt thanks to Euro Garages. Such support is crucial to the Trust and our Charity, ELHT&Me.
Finally, I'd like to share with you the news that our Director of Operations, John Bannister, will be retiring next year, at the end of May. John is an extremely effective and committed director, and he has had a significant impact on the Trust. He is well liked and well respected, and we will be really sorry to see him go. John, understandably, wants to spend more time with his family - and they with him no doubt. I'm glad we've got another few months of John's expertise, but I thought you would like to know. A real big thank you to John for everything he's done.
So, until next time, have a great weekend.