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m CEO report July 2023

National and system update

NHS England has now published its long-term workforce plan. The report outlines measures designed to address well-publicised workforce shortages through three priority areas: train, retain and reform. We are pleased to see this long-term commitment and meanwhile continue our local efforts to ensure we have the right numbers of people with the right skills to deliver outstanding care, and to make BHT an attractive place to work and train.

At the time of writing this report, we are experiencing our fourth period of industrial action by junior doctors. Once again, significant planning and preparation has gone into ensuring patients remain safe during this period, and urgent and emergency care remains in place. My thanks again to colleagues for their hard work, to those medical colleagues who are undertaking additional shifts, and to the public for their patience and understanding if their care has had to be rescheduled.

We are also preparing for the first consultant industrial action in the coming days, and similarly this involves significant hard work across clinical and support services. These periods continue to be managed through our command-and-control structures to ensure robust governance and oversight of critical decision-making.

Following the submission of the Operational Plan from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care Board (ICB), which included a deficit financial plan, the CEO has received a letter (Appendix 1) from the South East Regional Director of NHS England, Anne Eden, setting out a series of financial controls required to be in place this financial year. We will also append our response to this ahead of the Trust Board meeting on 26 July (Appendix 2).


On 5 July, seven of our colleagues and volunteers joined their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, other NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities at a service at Westminster Abbey in celebration of NHS75.

Nurses Anne Hutton and Ann Clairmonte-Rajab, occupational therapist Claire Farrant, consultant Ralph Robertson and volunteer Trevor Hudson were all chosen to represent the Trust due to their outstanding contributions to healthcare and consistently going above and beyond to look after people both in their own homes as well as in our hospitals.

In addition, we were delighted that May Parsons, one of our senior nurses who delivered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, carried the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession. May received the medal from Queen Elizabeth II, along with NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard and representatives from the other UK health services at Windsor Castle in July 2022.

Our Chief Nurse, Karen Bonner, also attended the service and we are very proud that both Karen and May have recently been recognised by the Nursing Times as two of 75 nurses and midwives nationally who have positively shaped the NHS over the past 75 years or are doing so right now.

Outstanding care

Key performance data are reported in the Integrated Performance Report with supporting narrative. The data this month are presented slightly differently in an effort to align with our objectives and to help focus the reader’s attention to where there are statistically significant changes (through the statistical process chart analysis). I would draw the Board’s attention to our current urgent and emergency care performance, which we acknowledge is not where we want it to be both in terms of Type 1 performance and total time in the emergency department.

A key element of delivering outstanding care is seeking and hearing feedback from patients and service users. We were pleased to attend the launch of the Healthwatch Bucks Annual Report and join their 10-year celebrations. Of note in 2022/23, Healthwatch Bucks produced reports on social prescribing and the experience of young people with dementia. In the year ahead, their focus will turn to primary care, social care (with a focus on hospital discharge) and children and young people’s experience of health and social care. I was particularly interested to see their ambition to consider health inequalities as part of all future work rather than a standalone issue.

We were pleased to welcome Rob Butler MP to Stoke Mandeville Hospital earlier this month to take a look around our new paediatric emergency and obstetrics and gynaecology departments in the Waddesdon Wing, as well as visit some of the older parts of our estate.

Healthy communities

I described last month some new initiatives by our schools engagement team, inspiring the next generation to consider careers in healthcare and the NHS. This month a new series of evening talks called ‘Discover careers in…’ launched with a focus on medicine. These are aimed at young people in Years 11 and 12 in local schools and colleges, and future months will focus on other career possibilities and opportunities.

It was a delight to see our garden volunteers at Amersham Hospital organise a celebration of NHS75 earlier this month. The green spaces for colleagues and patients at this hospital are a testament to the generous time and effort local residents choose to give, and we are extremely lucky and grateful for it.

On 29 July we will be delighted to host our Trust Open Day at Stoke Mandeville Hospital – the first in a few years following the COVID-19 pandemic, and an opportunity to celebrate NHS75. There will be tours and behind the scenes visits of various parts of the hospital, including our simulation suite, mortuary and theatres. Horatio’s Garden, part of the National Spinal Injuries Centre, will also be open to the public. We hope the day will also inspire local people to consider joining the organisation or volunteering.

Great place to work

Our NHS75 celebrations continued through a series of events and celebrations for colleagues this month, and I would particularly like to thank Mike Wozniak who performed his solo show ‘Zusa’ (currently touring the UK) exclusively for BHT colleagues and their guests at Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury for free. Thanks also to the Bucks Free Press for bringing free copies of their special edition (plus cakes!) to our Wellbeing Garden at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

We held our Annual Awards a few weeks ago, and I am sure the Board will join me in celebrating all colleagues and teams who were nominated by peers, patients or their loved ones, with of course particular commendation to those who won. It was wonderful to hold this celebration together in person after reduced activities over recent years.

In celebration of South Asian Heritage Month, colleagues once again organised a fantastic Cricket Match, this year challenging NHS colleagues at Milton Keynes University Hospital. On 22 July the now annual Sportsfest organised by the Kalinga Filipino network will take place at Stoke Mandeville stadium, a fantastic opportunity to have fun and spend time with colleagues we might not usually get to. We also celebrated the Women’s World Cup with teams competing to decorate their areas for one of the countries.

I was pleased to join fellow senior leaders from across the organisation at the first of our Leadership Away Days this year focusing on our organisational development plan and taking the time to workshop together ways to increase our productivity and efficiency. I look forward to continuing to work with this group throughout the year to deliver these changes.

Finally, I would like to formally welcome Jon Evans, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who joined the Trust on 17 July 2023, bringing with him a wealth of experience of both district general and large teaching hospital NHS organisations. I would also like to formally thank Kishamer Sidhu, our interim CFO since autumn 2022. It has been a pleasure to work with Kish and have him as part of the Board and the Executive team, and we wish him well in his future endeavours.