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Report of the Chief Executive, North Staffordshire Combined NHS Foundation Trust
(Members are invited to submit written questions by 5pm on Thursday 24 May 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Representing North Staffordshire Combined NHS Foundation Trust (NSCFT), Caroline Donovan, Chief Executive Officer, presented an assessment of that Trusts current operation. The Trust provided core mental health and learning disability services to the population of North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Whilst the Trust supported people in hospitals, more often it provided care in outpatients, community resource settings and in people’s homes. It also provided specialist mental health services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). She outlined the Trusts service areas and described their ‘journey of improvement’. In 2017, the CQC had found the Trust to have made significant improvement since their last inspection (2015 and 2016) with an overall culture which was patient centred and staff who were dedicated, positive and kind. In 2017 the Trust had been assessed as Good or Outstanding in all eleven core services.
The Trust had performed well in many areas during 2017-18, improving the quality of services and operational delivery whilst maintaining financial sustainability. The Chief Executive highlighted key achievements from 2017-18 which included the development of a Suicide Prevention Strategy and being selected by CQC as a Mental Health Exemplar. In terms of staff engagement, the Trust continued to be challenged by staffing issues, reflecting the national picture. 2017-18 was the 19th consecutive year of financial balance and evidenced 33% reduction in agency expenditure and £1.5m trading surplus. The Trust had invested £3m in capital programme specifically a Psychotic Intensive Care unit in Stoke. She described the five key priorities areas for Mental Health in Staffordshire and the Trust was aligned to these. The Trust had been selected as a national exemplar by CQC and as a digital exemplar for their work with young people.
A Member asked about the cost of agency staff which had reduced by one third and how much saving this represented in financial terms. The Trust acknowledged that there were a number of areas where recruitment was difficult especially around the medical workforce where locums were engaged to ensure continuity. The spending on nursing agency staff is small. The plan was to reduce the level of agency staff used in non-clinical areas but challenges remained with medical consultants. A Member acknowledged that staff vacancy levels were a recurring problem across Healthcare Trusts nationally. Registered nurse vacancies had increased although recent recruitment had filled many of these. Furthermore, Maria Nelligan, Director of Nursing and Quality assured members that patient safety was not compromised and the Trust was compliant with national quality standards in terms of staffing which was monitored monthly and reported to the Trust Board. The Trust had developed an electronic rostering system to help ensure an appropriate skill mix of registered to non-registered nursing staff. Occasionally, non-registered nurse shifts were covered by support workers as well as looking at new nursing associates roles. This role was developing into an additional workforce which offered a stepping stone and afforded some flexibility to the Trust.
The Trust was trying to make recruitment easier and swifter, ... view the full minutes text for item 5.