3 December - non-executive directors

06 December 2021

This week’s session began in conversation with Daniel Benjamin, acting chair of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Overheard during the discussion:

“[Abuse of NHS staff] is something we have been concerned with for a long time. As a mental health trust we do get violent incidents. We get emails on Friday with the incidents from the week. It always shocks me when these incidents result in staff going sick or ending up in A&E.”

“It is something that there is now heightened awareness around. In the past few weeks a few things have happened in our trust. One of our ward managers wrote a rather moving blog about a week on the ward and in the first page there were accounts of two violent incidents.”

“So what are we doing as a board? We are monitoring these incidents through our quality committee. We are extremely sensitive to any incidents. Most of our NEDs on the quality committee have had violence reduction training, simulation as to what really happens on the ward so they understand. They found that a really powerful and moving experience. Just this week we had a board meeting and we had a paper presented to us on our violence reduction strategy.”

“The thing that came out most is we had a really good conversation about management training and ensuring we were investing sufficiently in leadership training and embedded into this training the trust values. It is an area we perhaps could have invested more in over the last few years which we are committed to catching up on.”

“The people agenda is much more central than it was pre-pandemic. There are a number of reasons for that. We are finding it really hard to recruit staff. We are operating in a tight labour market. We are investing a lot more effort in staffing but there are difficulties. It is a good thing we are focusing more on our staff. There is a huge challenge to get the staff we need to deliver the health service we need.”

“We have invested a lot of time in the freedom to speak up. We’re conscious about getting the information we need, we want incidents to be reported so we get the complete picture. If it isn’t reported it isn’t visible to the management system or to us. It’s again why the people survey is so important.”

“We are seeing incidences of violence across our provision, be it on wards, in A&E, wherever it is. Our work to understand the underlying problems started with the people survey results. We have been diving into the detail of why these incidents are happening.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation. For further details, visit our events page.

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