My team and I have completed a few ‘ward rounds’ this week. No, not walking round pretending to be doctors, just sitting with a few patients on various wards and talking about the service they are receiving and to the staff about how things are generally. We went to Cassio ward last Tuesday and this is a ward for people with gastric (stomach) issues. We spoke with four different patients and all said how good the staff had been and how clean the place was. Some of these patients had been in for a few weeks, so there is an element of boredom, but one chap I spoke to was keen to offer me some advice. He was reasonably knowledgeable about the NHS having been on a few committees and such a few years ago and, as a retired accountant, was interested in discussing the financial challenges the hospital is facing. We talked for about 20 minutes when he came up with a money saving idea – “don’t give me so much choice on the menus and cut your cleaning staff”. I explained the need for both, but it struck me that it was a fantastic accolade to our staff that these two incredibly important areas, areas where we are investing rather than disinvesting , were so good that we should consider cutting back on them. I wished him a speedy recovery and thanked him for his ideas. If you have any ideas on how we can be more efficient and save money, let me know.

Before I go, some of you want to know how I got on with that horrible wardrobe shrink monster. The good news is that the weather has changed and I don’t need my shorts, but the reality is the WSM is still there and watching my every move, but I have a plan! I thought about walking to work everyday (silly idea), of not having lunch (possibilities), even giving up the curry and red wine night (very silly idea), so my plan is simple, eat, drink and be merry but just a little less than normal and take more exercise – anyone fancy a jog? – or I could just buy a new wardrobe.