Chris Outram, Chair of The Christie Board
|Chris Outram, Chair of The Christie Board|
I’ve known that this is an outstanding hospital from the very first day I joined the
Trust two years ago, but it is very humbling when an independent watchdog like the CQC comes to the same conclusion.
I have constantly been struck by the way The Christie brings together compassion, kindness and respect for our patients and for each other, alongside great evidence-based care and treatment, and world class research and teaching. It's a wonderful combination.
To have the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards – who, as former National Cancer ‘Tsar’ does know a thing or two about cancer services – describe the care at The Christie as ‘of exceptional quality’ is a massive accolade. I’m not aware of the CQC saying that about any other trust yet.
He goes on to state that we are helping to shape the future of cancer care, and that we represent ‘a clear example of a trust leading in its field’. Such warm recognition for the humanity of our care, that brings leading edge, world class treatment for the benefit of all our patients, is something that we should savour for a long time – and continue to nurture.
The CQC also highlighted a number of outstanding practices including:
- The surgical division’s ‘remarkable’ approach to treatment with the multidisciplinary cancer team offering bespoke multi-specialities to patients which improved survival rates
- The Trust’s ‘outstanding’ programme of alternative and complementary therapies
- The structure of the Trust’s end of life care team which is now being rolled out across cancer centres throughout the country.
We could not have achieved this without our dedicated staff who work tirelessly to give the very best care and treatment possible to our patients. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank each and every member of staff at The Christie for everything they do to make The Christie such a special place.
There are so many small examples of our staff thoughtfully helping our patients in a way that can make a big difference.
One recent example is that a couple of weeks ago I stopped at the Oak Road entrance to take a few photos of the lovely posters of the seasons made for us by local schoolchildren. I got talking with an elderly patient, who told me how much he and his family appreciated the compassion and care displayed to them by every Christie member of staff they came across.
He told me that during a recent outpatient appointment there had been an unexpected downpour of rain; when he and his wife returned to their car at the Oak Road entrance they realised that they had left one of their windows completely open. But the car interior hadn't got wet because a member of staff had taped a plastic bag over the open window to protect it.
I'd like to thank that member of staff, and all of our staff, who do an outstanding job showing our patients and each other such care, kindness and respect on a daily basis. This really was an example of 'going the extra mile' - or as management textbooks might put it, 'discretionary effort'. It's this sort of story that makes me so honoured to be The Christie’s Chair.
One of the great things about The Christie is that not only do our staff show such kindness and respect, but they also deliver that alongside great evidence-based care and treatment, and world class research and teaching. It's a fantastic combination.
A recent example of this is the active and leading part we have played in Manchester's successful application to the National Institute for Health Research for Biomedical Research Centre status, bringing further resources and prestige to our cancer research programmes.
But the NHS is facing highly challenging times, and we are not immune from this, no matter how hard we strive.
Having recently been elected to the national Board of NHS Providers (the “trade association” for NHS hospitals) it’s interesting to hear how the discussions taking place nationally mirror the discussions taking place locally in Greater Manchester about how hard everyone in the NHS is working to maintain and improve the quality and standards of care for patients despite the tough financial climate. This is just as true of us at The Christie where many staff are contributing to our efforts to implement cost improvements whilst transforming the standards of care we offer. It is not easy, but we have made tremendous progress.
Developments in the wider political arena, both here and across the Atlantic, present us with another set of challenges, on which I want to make the views of the whole Trust Board - crystal clear. It is our Christie values of compassion, integrity and respect, for our patients and for each other that bind us together and support all that we do. Those values include an absolute commitment to diversity and inclusion and without them we could not be an outstanding organisation.
The news at the moment is full of stories and debate that risk making anyone who sees themselves as "different" or "foreign" feel unwelcome. For example, a positive news story a few weeks ago, about investing more in medical training, somehow became a suggestion that perhaps doctors from overseas were less welcome. But the NHS has always been a diverse organisation, and so has The Christie.
We want to say, in the strongest possible terms, that this great organisation of ours, and the patients that we serve, depend on the contribution of each and every member of staff. We value the fact that we are a diverse and international organisation, with the exciting ambition of being in the top five in the world - and with that ambition, what else could we be. No matter where in the world our staff come from - and no matter what their gender, race, job, sexuality or anything else – we want them to know that their work is valued and appreciated, and that we support them and need them here as part of our team.