This week I’d like to reflect on what is happening across the Trust and how we prioritise what we do in these exceptionally busy times. I am sure, like myself and my colleagues in the executive team, many of you will feel a bit pulled in different directions at the moment.
There is an incredible amount happening as we work to cope with increasing numbers of Covid patients and those attending A&E and requiring admission (as is usual during the winter period), restore and recover those services suspended or reduced during the first wave of the pandemic and provide ‘business as usual’ outpatient, diagnostic and elective care to thousands of patients a week.
Covid aside, we know that demand on all services will continue to grow and we need to evolve our ways of working to more digitally-enabled, patient-focussed, efficient methods. Implementing the new operating model, such as the creation of more services in the community ‘closer to home’ and enabling patients to manage their own care through the greater use of technology is key.
The roll out of the new electronic patient record, Surrey Safe Care, is critical and we cannot allow this vital programme of work to slip. Our estates transformation project is also central to providing sustainable and high quality care to patients now and in the future and projects such as the urgent and emergency care development project cannot stall. So whilst we have specified a ‘Main Effort’ these are the key strategic and transformation areas of work we must keep moving forward.
So, how do we weigh up and manage these multiple pressures and priorities? As an executive team we recently spent some time discussing the concept of our ‘Main Effort’. This is a term used widely in the military to describe the key actions or activities deemed most likely to lead to the success of the project or mission. We have created our own ASPH Main Effort document, which you can see summarised in this simple infographic. It centres on the North Star objective and enables us to take a step back when things get busy, confusing or overwhelming and focus on the things within our control that contribute to the Main Effort.
In summary our Main Effort is to:
Ensure the safe flow and pathways for all patients in our care is not wasteful of time or effort and always adds value in meeting their needs, avoiding the risk of cross-infection and viral transmission, whilst preparing them well for discharge at the earliest safe opportunity.
There are several key actions and activities detailed in the infographic, which you can also view here, that support the delivery of the Main Effort. The key thing for us all to be asking ourselves every day is ‘does my activity and actions support the achievement of the Main Effort’?’ If the answer is ‘no’ because your team has too many conflicting priorities then it’s time to take a moment and discuss together how you re-prioritise. This may mean that some projects need to be postponed or reduced in scale and in these circumstances that is entirely acceptable. Sometimes it is simply not possible to do everything at the same time!
Please also remember that as a senior leadership team we are here to support you. Please discuss your Main Effort focus as a team and if that surfaces uncertainties or concerns about what to do then let me know as we’d be very keen to have those discussions with you.
I know it’s a challenging time for us all, professionally and personally, and I hope clarifying the aspects of current activity and focus will help maintain a sense of control and ease some of the discomfort I am sure we all feel from time to time.
With best wishes for the week ahead, stay safe and please if you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet now really is the time.