‘Mergers can be great way to improve’

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It looks as though the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is going through a few problems, both financially and in performance.

The suggestion, as usual, is to look at merging with another organisation, in this case the West Midlands Ambulance Service which is performing a lot better.

This sort of thing can work very well so long as everyone is willing to learn, and apply, lessons in good practice from their partners.

Our proposed merger with Nottingham University Hospital Trust looks like progressing.

I firmly believe that strategic planning is one of the great strengths that Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust can bring to this process in the future. It should have a strong influence on the end result months down the line that can only be of benefit to the public.

It was nice to see so many people interested in becoming public governors at the trust. Public participation in anything these days is to be applauded and helps to bring in common sense from people who have their feet on the ground. Those of you who are members of the trust need to make sure to vote and make a difference.

In last month’s column you may remember I was surprised at the discussions I had with the public at one of the ‘meet the governor’ sessions at King’s Mill Hospital where a lot of them seemed dissatisfied. Having had a similar session a few weeks ago I had quite the opposite response with only a couple of people all morning who had adverse comments, and they were administration difficulties. It only goes to show, same place, same day of the week, same type of patients, but different month and different response. Can’t quite make that one out but must think about it.

A friend of mine was giving her grandchildren a lift last week and happened to drive past King’s Mill at night. They both commented how delightful it was to see for the first time the ‘pretty colours’ from the hospital buildings. I was asked how it was that the lights could now be switched back on when years ago they had been switched off as a cost saving measure after the hospital was put in special measures. Has there been a sudden turnaround in finances? I didn’t really know what to say, so that’ll be something else to ask about.

And to finish, this column seems to have ruffled a few feathers, which isn’t always a bad thing I suppose. Asking questions and challenging established practices are essential for improvements in any organisation. To paraphrase Socrates, ‘an unexamined institution can’t improve its services.’

• Although I am a public governor for Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust I am speaking in a personal capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the trust or other governors.