It’s been a busy week in our hospitals. I know that’s not particularly unusual as our hospitals are always busy, but this week seems to have been relentless. I’ve been looking back at my diary to see why it has felt different this week. Before I describe my week, remember I am not a clinician, so there will be no stories of heroic deeds by me – maybe others, but not by me. As usual, Monday started with my team meeting to discuss communication activities, what had been in the press over the weekend or last week and what may come up during the week. We have a policy of being open with the media, so try and ensure that we answer all enquiries in time to allow the paper to go to print. They’re not always good stories about us and some of you may have seen we got a mention in the Daily Mail and the Sun this week. Both stories only told half the story, but due to patient confidentiality we can’t always tell our side of the story – I’m not looking for sympathy, just explaining how it is. Both stories emanate from Freedom of Information Requests, also my responsibility. We get, on average, one a day. They are very time consuming and often complicated, but I’m pleased to say this year we have a 100% record of responding within the 20-day time scale.

Although I’m not clinical I do a ward round every so often. No, not in a white coat pretending to be important, but as part of the communications team. We talk to patients and staff and try and find out exactly what it’s like, and what we need to do to change things for the better, both for patients and our staff. As well as finding out what needs improving, you do pick up some remarkable stories of where things have gone right. You may have read in the Watford Observer this week about the lady from Mill End thanking Watford hospital for “ saving her life”. There are many stories on the wards about good care, expert staff and life saving/changing care. No matter how busy we are, these little anecdotes remind us of how proud we can be of our local NHS.