Published on: 14 June 2019

Hi AllMartin Hodgson.jpg

Martin Hodgson here again.

When tasked with writing the blog for this week, a memorable quote from Einstein kept coming to mind – “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.

This week has certainly been a difficult one for many, having to deal with increased pressures to our departments. But it has not been without its fair share of positive developments and opportunities too. In fact this week’s blog is dedicated to the hardworking staff who continually find opportunities to improve and provide better services to patients, in spite of the difficulties they face.

Certainly, one area of ‘difficulty’ is the emergency care standard, or as many of you will know it, the four hour standard. Winters come and go, but in recent months we have been left with the intense pressure that the winter brought. We are seeing far more acutely poorly patients who need a hospital bed, but finding the bed becomes a problem. At times it can feel as though we are reaching the limit of our ability, and yet I know from speaking to both staff and patients the care being provided is exceptional and the potential to improve patient flow is within our grasp. We mustn’t lose sight of the incredible work being carried out, but we really do need to do all we can to avoid a ‘bad day’ and remember that Every Minute Matters and Every Person Plays a Part.

This week I had the pleasure of spending time with the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering team, or EBME for short! It was a truly inspiring visit and three things hit me. Firstly, how they are really embracing new technology to become even more efficient and further improve the service they deliver. Secondly how they have developed significant in-house expertise, which means the team and the Trust are able to carry out more work in the department, rather than contracting it out. And lastly, how they have transformed their workforce. This links to the second point but they have taken it a step further by incorporating their apprentice positions into the structure and adding strength with a clear career path. Well done Arif and the team for your innovation and creativity and thank you for welcoming me to your department.

I also ‘dropped in’ to see a demonstration of the new Electronic Chemotherapy Prescribing System. This is another innovative use of new technology which will enhance our patients’ care.

Public Health England have made the ambitious pledge to eradicate Hepatitis C by 2030. One of the ways this will be achieved is through the work of Operational Delivery Networks (ODN’s). ELHT is the host organisation of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Hepatitis C ODN. This has given us the opportunity to work with our ‘system’ (commissioners, providers, public health and voluntary sector) to actively improve the outcomes of people living with Hep C. I met up with Dr Ioannis Gkikas, Jane Grassham and Matt Sutcliffe, who are doing a great job in establishing the ODN and driving the project in collaboration with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay. We are about to start a pilot programme to make contact with and treat people who have tested positive for the Hep C antibody. While Hep C treatment has transformed in recent years, with new potentially curative treatments being developed, the lifestyles of people living with it are often quite chaotic. This does mean the task at hand will be quite arduous but will provide a big step towards eliminating Hep C as a major public health threat. I’m sure we will hear more about how the project is progressing over the months ahead.

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you to Kevin and Damian for giving me the opportunity to guest blog!

Best wishes