The man at the helm of Derby and Burton’s hospitals has spoken candidly about Brexit, budget pressures and hard-working staff.
Gavin Boyle, the chief executive of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB), sat down for an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The merger between the two hospital trusts is still in its infancy and will mark its first anniversary this summer.
Mr Boyle started working in the NHS more than two decades ago and took up the role as chief executive in Derby in 2016, before the merger with Burton last year.
Here is what Mr Boyle had to say.
Planning for Brexit in the NHS is being led at a national level. Every day we at the hospital are keeping in contact with the national planning structure.
Most of the planning relates to the possible event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Thankfully that it is looking less and less likely now than it did a few weeks ago.
Of course, a significant amount of our medicine is manufactured in the EU and we are doing everything we can to make sure that is not impacted.
About 300 of our staff are EU nationals from outside of the UK and a big part of our job is to make sure that they feel welcome and that they are supported to remain here. They are a key part of our workforce and work hard to support us. They are important not just for us but also for patient care. We have more EU staff now than we did before – we used to have around 250 and now we have about 300. It may be counter-intuitive to what people expected but that is just fact.
It is definitely a good sign that we are not losing people but gaining. Freedom of movement is important for that – it makes it so much easier for people to come here from within the EU. Stopping freedom of movement could cause problems for us in the future – but not at the moment.
On hardworking staff
We have many hard-working people in the NHS and certainly in UHDB – they do a huge public service. For these people it is definitely a vocation not just a job. They want to do their best for us. They have an intrinsic desire to provide a public service. And the NHS has always been this organisation that no matter who or where you are, it will be here for you.
We can’t overly rely on goodwill – but it is really important to keeping the NHS going. We don’t want to lose that.
On budget pressures and demand for services
Although money is tight we are still investing in services.
We continue to invest and there is a clear commitment from central government to increase NHS funding by 3.4 per cent over the next five years. This is better than other public services.
But we can’t go on as we are now. Over the last three years we have seen a four per cent rise in admissions into our hospitals – this is not sustainable.
Local authorities and health providers in Staffordshire and Derbyshire have been working more and more together to be more efficient – through creating a ‘Place’ approach.
It may be that the best place for a patient is not in hospital but out there, in the community.
We are very conscious of waste in the hospital and are always looking for efficiencies.
We have been looking at practice in private industry to help us find more efficient ways of doing things.
One example is Toyota, which has inspired companies with its ‘lean’ approach. (This system aims to eliminate waste in order to boost productivity and make the most of available resources)
In the USA some hospitals have now adapted the way they do things through adopting this model – the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle for instance. It is all about improving quality.
The approach from Toyota in healthcare is now being called the Virginia Mason model and seven hospitals in England are now trialling this model – we are one of them.
We are bringing the system back home almost – with Toyota on our doorstep, of course.