Published on: 20 December 2019

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Hello ho ho and welcome to my last blog before Christmas.

I want to kick off this blog with some excellent news from the 5th Annual National Emergency Laparotomy report which has just been released. It shows that ELHT has reduced our mortality rates by nearly 50% over the last 5 years. We're now the best performing of all the hospitals in the North West Coast Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative – and better than the national average for many of the metrics the report measures. This is a fantastic achievement so well done to everyone who has contributed to this.  Our next step to get into the "premier league" is to appoint a physician who looks after surgical patients - a so called POP – who will deal with multi-morbidity and frailty in their role as member of the surgical team.

As Christmas approaches, I want to share my personal thanks and express my gratitude, to each and every one of you, for the huge efforts you make every single day on behalf of our patients. This is a time of year when the pressures on the entire health and care system are at their greatest and the demands on ELHT services, and on your own working lives, can seem relentless. Over the festivities and throughout the winter, we will continue to see those who are at their most vulnerable. Families will be welcoming new additions, more frail elderly people than ever will need the care, compassion and support that I know I can rely on you all to provide.

Of course, we’re seeing lots of positives at ELHT this Christmas, many of which are featured in this month’s Our Trust Your News staff magazine. It’s a bumper edition of 22 pages featuring lots of individual and team success stories to show how our staff going the extra mile for the NHS from Blackburn to Barrowford, the Ribble Valley down to Rossendale.

For many of you who follow the trust and get ELHT first on social media, you’ll have seen some fabulous posts this week which shows just how we’re celebrating the festive season. Christmas is also a time when many of us remember loved ones who have passed away and our Memory Trees at Blackburn and Burnley have, as usual, received many personal messages of remembrance. As well as frontline staff, the Spiritual Care service also has a busy time at Christmas and there will be services in the chapels at Royal Blackburn and Burnley General on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

One of my favourite duties as CEO is to regularly present our ‘Employee of the Month’ award.  Unfortunately, I could not do it this month, but the award was presented on my behalf to Podiatrist Catherine Veevers by Director of Communications and Engagement Christine Hughes. She arrived during the Podiatry team’s Christmas lunch to pay tribute to Catherine’s professionalism and quick thinking when confronted with a patient who had collapsed at home. Catherine was nominated by her colleagues and I’m sure I speak for them, as well as the patient and her family when I say ‘thank you, Catherine’.

As we come to the end of 2019 I wanted to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all the staff here at ELHT. Whether you work in one of our hospitals or in our local community, Christmas is a busy time of year and I know that everyone is doing their absolute best to care for our patients.  On behalf of the entire Board of the Trust, sincere thanks to you all. You are amazing.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our patients, staff and local community. I look forward to leading the Trust, with you, into 2020 and beyond.

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Pictured: Employee of the Month Catherine Veevers (centre) with her award certificate