By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
The Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals has published a major long-term plan for improvements at the trust following a string of highly critical assessments from the healthcare watchdog.
Anthony May, who joined the trust in September 2022, has set out a focus on patient flow through the hospitals, recruitment and retention and leadership and culture.
The plan is called ‘People First’ and is a reflection on his first 100 days at the trust and a look forward to the next 1,000 days.
The trust, which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, employs 18,600 staff and has a budget of £1.3bn a year.
Mr May introduced the report at the trust’s board meeting on January 26.
Dr Neil Pease, Chief People Officer, said the report was an “unbelievable catalyst for change” during the meeting.
Mr May wrote in the report that “NUH is full of remarkable people doing amazing things every day”.
The report states that the trust must focus on improving patient flow through the hospital, which increases pressure on the A&E.
It comes after the average number of patients who are medically safe for discharge but still occupy a hospital bed has increased from 58 (April 2020) to 238 (Jan 2023).
The trust also has approximately 2,300 job vacancies.
Finally, Mr May said there must be a focus on leadership after inspectors the Care Quality Commission rated the trust ‘inadequate’ for the ‘well led’ section of its inspection in 2021.
The report recommends a “bottom-up approach” to ideas for innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness. It also recommends “a consistent approach to change”.
Mr May’s report also states: “Despite the best efforts of the many thousands of colleagues at NUH and of our partners, patients often wait too long for their care, they are sometimes treated in unsuitable conditions, and a combination of these and many other factors can affect outcomes.
“Added to that, many colleagues report feelings of fatigue and of not being
able to reach their professional standards.
“They find this debilitating and stressful. It is an unfortunate truth that some colleagues report experiences that do not fit with the values of a modern NHS organisation. I have received reports of bullying, harassment and discrimination. This behaviour must stop.”
Mr May said during the meeting: “It’s difficult to know an organisation until you live and breathe it.
“The best way for me to understand it was the immerse myself in it as quickly as possible.
“When I started the process, it was clear people were hungry to tell their stories.
“By Christmas, we had interventions with well over 3,000 people. The report reflects what people have told us.
“I was appointed to look at things differently and that’s what I’ve tried to do.
“The majority of people who spoke with me were positive about NUH as an entity and their affinity with it. People that work here quickly develop an affinity with this place, as has happened with me – and I’ve only been here for five months.
“If we get this right and our reputation improves, I think more people will want to join us on things like research and innovation.”
Non-executive director Professor John Atherton said: “I fully support this plan, it shows you’ve listened to people.
“You have skilfully distilled that down to these three barriers.
“You’ve done this in an authentic way and you’ve truly been a role model for the values we have here.
“The fact that you’ve listened will mean that you get buy in. Congratulations, it’s tremendous.”
Dr Neil Pease, Chief People Officer, added: “It’s unbelievably powerful to have the Chief Executive set this out and back this from day one.”
The trust board unanimously approved the report.