Report from The Royal Hospital Trust Board Meeting

Today I attended my first Royal Wolverhampton Trust  Board meeting as an Observer.

My first impressions are that the monthly board meetings of the Royal Wolverhampton Trust are complex affairs. I knew they must be when I received the one inch thick papers over the week end.  I was welcomed to the meeting  and soon found that I was in a new world of acronyms’, as the detail of the meeting  were heavily abbreviated by both the spoken  and the written one’s!

The Agenda contained 13 agenda headings and 38 items in the public part of the Meeting starting at 10.00am and finishing just after 13.00.

The chairman in laying out the agenda of the meeting drew attention to the fact that there had been a General Election, but he drew comfort from the fact that there had not been wholesale change amongst the Hospital catchment of MP’s. He reported that the newly elected MP’s were pretty much known to the Hospital Board, and that this ‘stability’ was beneficial.

Of the 38 items out for discussion I intend to just dwell on two or three to form the ‘guts’ of this report.

Complaints and Patient Experiences Report

This was the report of the Cheryl Etches the Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive. The Board were asked to note the contents of the report.  This report provided an update against performance metrics. Giving an overview of progress with work programmes, intended to improve the experience of patients in the care of the Trust.

  • The Friends and Family Test report showed that five Wards reported below 79% of recommends, although 21 areas reported 90% or over would recommend the ward or department.
  • The report also highlighted that in-patient response rates, have been below the national level through out the last quarter however this situation was reversed in March 2015.
  • The number of formal complaints received remained similar to the previous quarters.
  • The main areas highlighted were general care and clinical treatment. Also the proprietness of treatment competence and complications of treatment.
  • The results of the 2014 national patient survey were published by the Care Quality Commission on 21 May 2015. The RWT results it was reported was very much in line with the National Report.


There was a view that these results had placed the RWT in the ’middle of the pack’. Now I suppose the question for the users of the hospital and its services, are   – Do we want to be in the middle of the pack, or somewhere out in front?  I was impressed with the line of questioning by the Non Executives on this matter.




Infant Mortality Action Plan 2915-2018

This report was to provide an overview of the Infant Mortality action plan which had been developed by a multi agency approach involving an Infant Mortality Working Group to address the high rate of infant mortality in Wolverhampton.  The author of the report was Dr Ros Jervis the Director of Public Health. Dr Jervis was introduced to the Board and she gave summation of the contents of the report. It was explained that there were 15 individual recommendations within the six specified areas all with a view to

  • Strengthening Understanding and awareness of infant mortality.
  • Addressing smoking cessation in pregnancy and after pregnancy for the whole family
  • Low Birth Weight Infants
  • Maternal & Infant Nutrition
  • Reducing Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy
  • Addressing vulnerability pre-pregnancy and beyond.

The Health & Well Being Board approved the Action Plan in March 2015. The paper was requesting the RWT to accept the Infant Mortality Plan. Dr Jervis spoke to the paper making the case and informing the Board that 12 years ago RWT had the worst statistics in the Country. A really poor rate of infant deaths. As we speak we are no longer bottom of the pile, Walsall and Birmingham have poorer statistics, but we do constantly swop places with them. We are still however in the bottom quartile. She told the board that this was the ‘best piece of work’ she had been involved with.

Dr Jervis also made a plea to the RWT saying that recommendation five was an important one. She urged the RWT to make the Hospital site a ‘smoke free site’. She argued that having smoking on the hospital site was neither helping stopping young Mothers or encouraging others to stop smoking. A debate struck up around this item. The CEO said that having a Smoke Free Hospital would be an ’unmitigated disaster’. He said he would like to support this type of policy. But he had experience in a ‘smoke free hospital’ and it would take extra resources to provide the security staff to enforce it. He said with a passion that you “cannot expect Hospital staff to enforce any smoking ban.”

It was an interesting debate to witness from the sidelines! The City Council Cabinet will be making a decision soon on the Infant Mortality Action Plan….will be interesting to see if the Hospital does become a Smoke Free site’ I will watch this debate with interest.

Finally the third item I have chosen and wish to highlight is the proposal to create a –

Health Futures University Technology College – With the University of Wolverhampton and collaborating with Health & Well Being.

This will be the first health care and health science UTC in the UK. The vision was conceived and developed with employees from across the West Midlands . HFUTC has been created to provide an outstanding academic education to young people whilst also giving them an insight into the Healthcare sector.

    • The RWT will be one of 23 partners bringing this plan to fruition
  • UTC plans to open in September 2015 with 300 Year 10-12 students based in West Bromwich.

If you have any comments to make on these items you may email me on


New Cross Hospital

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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