Sam Selby

Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Delt Shared Services set to deliver digital transformation to provide exceptional customer care

Devon Partnership NHS Trust and Delt Shared Services set to deliver digital transformation to provide exceptional customer care

Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) is embarking on an ambitious transformation project, which will see their IT become more aligned with the NHS’s digital aspirations. This work will achieve a significant step-change in how the organisation collaborates with other service providers and delivers high quality care.  

At any one-time DPT supports around 30,000 people across Devon, the wider Southwest region and nationally. The organisation works closely with other health and social care providers to support the recovery of people with mental health, learning disability and neurodiversity needs. 

Delt Shared Services has been brought on board to support DPT with its plans for digital maturity, removing boundaries to information sharing and improving collaboration across the health and social care sector. 

It is difficult to imagine that an IT provider could make an impact on patient care. However, through this new partnership, DPT aims to deliver better population health outcomes by achieving its digital transformation strategy.  

The partnership has been formed based on Delt’s own work with Mental Health in the workplace. The organisation prioritises support and resources for its 200+ workforce and genuinely believes that happy staff are successful and productive employees.  

Rafael Sorribas, Chief Information Officer, says: “Over the last three years, we have increased our use of technology to support how we work at a far greater rate than we could have imagined or planned for. We have given out more than 4,000 laptops, iPads, and iPhones, and introduced a number of new applications and a VPN to support remote working. Users of our services have been able to connect to our care teams and staff have all been kept connected to colleagues across the Trust and beyond. 

“This has increased the amount of ‘IT support’ needed and we need to ensure a sustainable solution for the future. We have worked hard to create a partnership, with Delt, to provide the capacity and expertise to be able to support the Trust now and into the future”.  

Since its formation, Delt has continued to strive to be a regional leader within workplace mental wellbeing. From signing-up to the Wellbeing Charter, providing Mental Health First Aid Training, having an accessible EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) running 24/7, offering monthly Mental Health focused seminars in partnership with DevonMind and gaining regular staff feedback on what more could be done to support the wellbeing of all staff.  

DPT and Delt are aligned in their values and commitment to good mental health and wellbeing. It is this mutual passion and understanding that has formed the basis of this partnership. Delt will now supply IT services to the DPT’s 3,600 users across clinical and administrative roles. The two organisations will work collaboratively to deliver the digital transformation strategy, providing patients with exceptional care and service.  

Giles Letheren, Delt’s CEO said; “At Delt, we are truly passionate about supporting front-line staff to deliver a quality service to their customers. Our focus always has been and always will be helping clinicians to be up and running swiftly and efficiently so that they can meet the needs of their patients.” 

Giles added; “Our service has never been driven by closing tickets as quickly as possible. Instead, we work closely with our customers to properly understand their problems, fix them and implement a sustainable solution. We genuinely believe in our mission of Helping People Do Amazing Things and through this partnership with DPT we can continue to support key workers who provide crucial services to our communities.” 

GPintheCloud Service tackles GP shortage across Devon

GPintheCloud is a brand-new cloud-based system that allows GPs to access key systems and software remotely and from any compatible device.  

Before the launch of GPintheCloud, GPs would need to carry an NHS issued device to access patient data and clinical operating systems. For many, this meant carrying multiple devices or only being able to serve a patient when in a GP practice using a desktop computer.  

GPintheCloud is the brainchild of Delt Shared Services and INTEGY. Working collaboratively with the Devon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, the three teams set out to tackle both the shortage of GPs and the potential for practice staff to suddenly have to work from home. Both issues were being exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and urgently needed a sustainable solution.  

Delt and INTEGY created the GPintheCloud service to allow clinical staff to work from anywhere. Should a practice have to close, or a member of staff has to self-isolate due to Covid, the service can continue operating remotely. GPs, even locums from out of region, can serve patients from their own homes, using their own laptops. Gone are the days of needing to access and log into a desktop PC within a surgery.  

GPintheCloud is a secure virtual desktop that allows clinicians to access their GP ‘window’ from anywhere. The solution has so far delivered 8,000 extra clinical hours, since launch, with GP practices being able to utilise Locum GPs from outside the region and keep practice staff in work during periods of illness or closure. 

As the service continues to be rolled out, additional use-cases have been identified and are currently in trial. This includes Pharmacists being able to use the GPintheCloud service to access specific patient data negating the need to make follow up phone calls with GPs and the patient.  

Additionally Medical Examiners, who write and issue Death Certificates, can use the service to review the patient medical history without the need to individually request access to historical medical files and GP notes.  

Since the launch of GPintheCloud more than 200 GPs, across England are utilising the service to significantly improve the clinical care offering across the region.  

To find out more about GPintheCloud please visit www.gpinthecloud.com

Delt Shared Services sign new agreement with Electrotek Solutions

 

Delt Shared Services sign new agreement with Electrotek Solutions

For over 5 years, Delt Shared Services have worked with Electrotek Solutions, an IT WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) recycling company, to manage the disposal of the IT equipment used across the business and by our customers. We are pleased to announce that we have renewed this agreement and will continue to work together until 2025.  

Electrotek are experts in their methods of recycling and employ a zero to landfill policy throughout the Southwest. Unfortunately, in the fast-paced world of IT, equipment can reach the end of its life relatively quickly. This is where Electrotek step in and refurbish a proportion of the assets to allow them to be repopulated into the local community. The remaining assets are then broken down into metals, glass & plastics for recycling. 

By working with Electrotek, Delt have made sure that over 1,000 devices or 3.8 tonnes of WEEE Waste, are to be reused for its original purpose and ensured the responsible recycling of the remaining 7 tonnes of WEEE Waste. This has resulted in a total CO2 saving of 10.46 tonnes. 

Additionally, the partnership between Delt and Electrotek has made a positive contribution to the community in the value of £21,075 (financial and equipment donations) and has supported local charities in need such as The Shekinah Mission and Sanctuary Supported Living’s Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS). 

Giles Letheren, CEO at Delt Shared Services said, “We’re committed, here at Delt, to exceeding the ‘greening government’ commitments and more sustainable operations and we’re delighted that our renewed partnership with Electrotek is helping to make this happen. 

 

Photo by Electrotek Solutions – a member of Delt staff handing over refurbished equipment to Sanctuary Supported Living’s Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS) in 2021. 

What do pies & HR have in common?

What do pies & HR have in common?

Today is, I am told, International HR Day.  

It’s also World Bee Day, National Endangered Species Day, National be a Millionaire Day, National Defense Transportation Day (in the US by the spelling), National Pick Strawberries Day, International Clinical Trials Day and World Meditation Day. As if that wasn’t enough, we are in National Walking month too. I was going to make a joke about the need for a National Pie Day when I discovered that there already is one (January 23rd). Ditto National Sausage Dog Day, which is on June 21st. 

Hilarity notwithstanding, this has prompted me to think about how important HR is. 

Regular readers of my ramblings will probably be aware that I love my job but have calculated that it would be at least 6 times better if I didn’t have any employees, customers or suppliers. Without them, life would truly be blissful, if rather dull. 

I should start by saying I don’t even like the term HR. Back in the old days, HR used to be called Personnel. I liked Personnel. It recognised people as being special and different and not just another ingredient you need in the recipe for running a company. Human Resources make people sound a bit like nuts and bolts or cleaning products or other SKUs you might keep lying around in case they are needed. Don’t even get me started on the idea of Human Capital Management. For the sake of a quiet life though, I will call what I still think of as Personnel, HR. It is after all, International HR Day, not International Personnel Day. 

One of the joys of being a CEO is I tend to interact with people when they are at their best. I get to hang out with those who have gone above and beyond or done something amazing. I don’t often have to deal with people at their worst. People who, because they are human, are struggling with work or family or just life. I think I probably have the empathy of a cabbage and the patience of a hippo, on his way to eat a cabbage. This makes me a very poor manager of people. Yet, at Delt we have super high staff engagement, a Best Companies Award, the Workplace Wellbeing Charter and more. This is all down to our HR team. This small group deals with the collected daily challenges of nearly 600 people. I can barely manage to deal with my own.  

Who looks after HR? 

I’m sure it should be me but as mentioned, I feel poorly equipped to do so. Which means they have to look after themselves as well as everyone else. This is a pretty thankless task. People are quick to complain if something goes wrong but slow to praise when you get paid correctly, hired fast, trained well, supported through whatever life or work challenges you have, or exited well enough that they are singing our praises long after leaving for new opportunities. 

Delt’s various support service businesses are delivered quietly behind the scenes, enabling other people to do amazing things. Delt’s HR team work behind the scenes, enabling our own people to achieve the very best they can, for themselves and our customers. Without them, our personnel cannot succeed and without that, we have no company. 

Despite my new found passion for National Pie Day, I think that I could probably live happily and (more) healthily without pies. I could not live without HR. Probably, nor could you.  

Happy International HR Day team. 

 

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer

 

Photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash

Anxiety: Hindrance? Or Hero Power?

Anxiety: Hindrance? Or Hero Power?

It seems in the present day that Anxiety is a negative attribute to have. As if it’s some sort of ‘disorder’. However, I’m of the opinion that, in fact, anxiety is perfectly normal and, in most cases, healthy.

Being able to second-guess, internally debate and question ourselves is a trait that we should see as a strength, yet society strongly recognises it as a weakness. The tremendous growth of diagnosed anxiety is remarkable, from teenagers to adults. 30% of the British public ‘admit’ to having experienced a high level of anxiety in their lifetime with many ‘solutions’ being delivered including, squishy toys, fidget cubes and of course, every teacher’s nightmare, the fidget spinner. Notably these solutions also supported those with ADHD alongside anxiety and in some cases I’m sure they ‘worked’ but even the inclusion of these devices, it only increased the negativity surrounding the anxiety epidemic.

With a (not-so) simple change in perception we could change anxiety into our greatest human superpower.

My name is Adam. I’m 35 and a ¾  years old and I have Anxiety.

And these are my (fantastic) four reasons why Anxiety is a superpower.

 Time

Specifically, when it comes to decision making, I take my time. Very rarely do I make an impulse buy. To be fair, this is usually split between me being anxious about buying something and trying to find it cheaper elsewhere. Items have been known to sit in my basket for days whilst I ponder paying £2.85 on a second-hand book on eBay. Underlining our anxiety is our desire to create a good impression, to be valuable. The anxiety makes us feel uncomfortable is we deviate from doing what needs to be done. Our time management skills are on point because of this.

Talking to myself

This is a big one. The number of times I probably seem crazy because I’m (internally) talking to myself but pulling faces whilst having this conversation. Though If we’re experiencing a bout anxiety our sometimes talking to ourselves and making the nerves ‘real’ helps us feel released from some of the pressure, we can better talk ourselves into the taking the next step. This is how we succeed; one-step-at-a-time.

Risk

Risk is overrated. Sure, we need some of it in our lives, but there’s no harm in taking things slow and playing it safe. That being said, the value of risk should be understated. Its power can be the leap from losing all confidence in yourself, to actually feeling what your worth. The adrenaline rush that often comes with risk can be where the lines between excitement and anxiety are often confused. We must train ourselves to embrace the unfamiliar, and what it feels like to be there. Risk, in large amounts is overrated, train yourself, take smaller, more calculated risks and slowly build your confidence. My ability to lower the risk I’ve things I partake in keeps me alive.

Pressure

Pressure is a nasty word, especially in workplace. Ever heard of the famous sentence ‘I work better under pressure’ ? I have, a thousand and four times. Being a teacher, I was always reminding students of deadlines and was told they work much better under pressure. Amazingly, it’s that generation of students who are in the midst of the anxiety epidemic…. go figure.

However, It is when we’re under high-pressured situations that we are the most alert. Our body responds automatically, putting us into the biological experience of fight-or-flight.

But instead of viewing this anxiety as negative, train yourself to see it as fuel; the energy you need to run into action. Just remember to do it at your pace.

I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and for a while I thought that stuff just belonged in comic books or in movies. But I’ve come to realise that alongside the emergency services, teachers, forces personnel and many, many others that we can be superheroes in our own right.

It’s an upside-down way of thinking, but my kryptonite, my anxiety is the actually core of my strength and decision making.

My anxiety is my ‘Spidey-Sense’. It gives me a feeling, a strong sense of something being wrong, dangerous, or a suspicious situation.

It makes me, me.

 

Adam Dyer, IT Trainer

 

Photo by Ali Kokab on Unsplash

Ukraine Ts and Cs

Ukraine Ts and Cs

I’ve managed to deliberately avoid politics for most of my career taking an uncomfortable position sat firmly on the fence. In one organisation I was a member of the Board and also the general secretary of the employee’s trade union. That was awkward. 

However, what’s been happening in Ukraine over the last 26 days (arguably the last 6+ years) is something that is well beyond politics and goes to the very soul of what is right and what is wrong. I find it rather sad that after 200,000 years of evolution we still find that the best way of solving disagreements is killing each other.  

That the vast majority of the world has recognised that this is wrong and is trying to do something about it, is certainly a positive evolutionary step, if rather too late. I have a great many conflicting thoughts and emotions at the moment. Did I feel ashamed when a politician recently suggested on Question Time that Britain was leading the world in our response? (This was at about the point that Poland had taken in around a million refugees and we had found room for about 104.) Absolutely. I find the whole ‘we are the best in the world’ narrative to be not just implausible, but dangerously Trumpian (more of my personal politics leaking out perhaps). However, I’ve spent many years working on the fringes of both the military and diplomacy and understand the need to be very sure before you act on a global scale, even when you might be pretty sure that not acting quickly will just make matters worse. I’m glad I don’t have to make these decisions. It’s hard enough trying to do the right thing for the right reasons in a £20m company of 200 people, let alone when you are carrying the weight of history on your back. 

In time, I suspect we will find that Volodymyr Zelensky is as flawed as the rest of us, but right now he has given the rest of the world a masterclass in leadership for the internet age. He’s probably ineligible to be Prime Minister of the UK, but I’d vote for him tomorrow anyway. 

How best to support Ukraine is a dilemma faced by everyone, not just company CEOs. We can donate money to one of the hundreds of charities helping the displaced; we can fly a virtual Ukrainian flag on our Teams calls; some of us are even bold enough to take up arms. Having found myself on the pointy end of a gun a couple of times, I know the latter isn’t an option that’s going to help anyone. However, I am a bit of a closet geek AND a closet lawyer and what better way to show my support than to point you to one of, what I expect to be, many new terms and conditions popping up in software code. This one is from the terraform-aws modules (a collection of open-source tools designed to make creating and managing cloud computing resources easier). 

Enjoy. 

599 ## Additional terms of use for users from Russia and Belarus 

600 

601 By using the code provided in this repository you agree with the following: 

602 Russia has illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and brought the war in Donbas followed by full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 

603  Russia has brought sorrow and devastations to millions of Ukrainians, killed hundreds of innocent people, damaged thousands of buildings, and forced several million people to flee. 

604 Putin khuylo! 

For anyone put off because this looks like code it’s just a set of licence terms, written into the code, that say if you come from Russia or Belarus you may only use the software if you agree that Putin is a (rather derogatory term you can Google for yourself). 

I’m faintly ashamed that repeating a Russian obscenity in a blog has made me smile, even while survivors are still being dug out of the theatre in Mauripol. However, for somebody who has made it a rule to never mix politics and business, it’s a small step in my own evolution. 

 

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer

Neil Gater – Chief Technical Officer

Neil Gater – Chief Technical Officer

Originally from Wiltshire, Neil moved to Exmouth in 2021 with his wife and three children (and two dogs) having spent 20 years living and working in Manchester.  The move to Devon was very much a lifestyle decision to allow his family to live, work and study in a greener environment which fits their outdoor lifestyle.  When not supporting his children’s extensive sporting endeavours he enjoys walking, watching rugby and escaping to the garden or his allotment.

Neil’s career has entirely been spent in IT, starting out in sales roles before transitioning over a 10-year period through solution focused roles into leadership positions focused on IT strategy.  He has worked in both the private and public sector over the years working with a wide range of partners and customers.  Neil is focused on really understanding and identifying how technology can be applied to drive transformation.  He joined Delt as it gave the opportunity to join an organisation which is making a tangible difference at a local level, and which cares about and invests in its people.

Connect with Neil on LinkedIn
Delt Website Contact LinkedIn Icon

The Busy Ants

The Busy Ants

If you search on the internet for “Busy Ants” you’ll find lots of content relating to Primary School mathematics. There’s even a book called “The Busy Ants” by Karin Clafford.

Ants can be a pain, especially if, like me you’re always the one who ends up with “ants in your pants”.  I do however admire them for being busy, focusing on what’s important such as, finding food and defending their colony. I always love a quote and thought this one by Henry David Thoreau was quite relevant, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”. What a great point for thought – “What are we busy about?” 

As a CIO, it’s a key part of my job to think big picture and spend time looking at what’s ahead (strategic) as well as what’s right in front of me (tactical). We’ve been busy over the last few weeks with annual budget reviews, business plan reviews and of course the other important things such as customers, the health & wellbeing of my team and family. I am not alone in finding it difficult to do everything and if I was honest with myself, I’d recognise that on some occasions I don’t get the work/life balance right. It’s natural sometimes to have too many conflicting priorities and end up feeling that you’re “too busy” to deliver everything. Long term it isn’t a healthy place to be in and can lead to burn out. There are common strategies to help, for example delegating to someone or prioritising your time on the things that are truly important.  

But surely everything is important, right? I would argue it is not. For example, is catching up on work at weekends more important than spending quality time with the family? Is checking email every 10 minutes more important than finishing off that important task at work? It’s not a test and in my opinion the answer is rarely yes, unless of course checking email every 10 minutes is a critical element of your role. 

Focusing on what’s important can have significant benefits such as improved productivity and improvements in business and personal results. I am often asked for advice on how I prioritise and always refer people to Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”. If you haven’t heard of this, then I recommend you read it. All of the habits are relevant to this blog, however Habit 3 “Put first things first” is the most relevant. Habit 3 is about focusing on the “Big Rocks”, what is most important and how to prioritise the important vs the less important. I would recommend watching his Big Rocks – YouTube, as a great way of explaining the “Big Rocks” concept. We are using the “Big Rocks” as part of the annual business planning with our Continuous Improvement team this year and it’s working well. 

Being able to manage time and prioritise is a key skill and many techniques exist around doing just this. My favourite is Stephen Covey’s time management quadrant which is something I use all the time. It helps me plan and prioritise my week to make sure I am focused on the “Big Rocks” first. Another good video on how to do this is Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants Time Management Strategies | Time Management Matrix | Ep 9/13 – YouTube 

Why not set yourself and your teams a challenge and ask what are your “Big Rocks”.  

If Ant’s can get it right, surely, we can as well? 

 

Paul Jones, Chief Information Officer

 

Photo by MD_JERRY on Unsplash

The Great Resignation – Is it all bad?

The Great Resignation – Is it all bad? 

This is an interesting article by Brian Hartzer.  He raises some very valid points on the “Great Resignation” and how important it is to treat employees well. But! And there had to be a but, I don’t think culture is the only driving force at play here. I’m a glass half full kind of person, so I’m also not convinced it’s all bad for employees or Companies. 

There is no doubt that the pandemic changed us all. It gave us all a kick up the backside. Time in isolation, fearing for the safety of our friends and family and, in the worst cases, mourning the loss of them from the most horrendous circumstances. It made us realise how precious life is. It made us all question in one way or another what we are doing with our time. 

So, is it really a surprise that as we come out of the other side that peoples’ priorities have changed? We have survived! We feel strong, brave, and determined to make the best of this thing called Life. For many, making the most of it means a change to their career. Taking on a new challenge, taking a step up (or in some cases down) the ladder, leaving a job they don’t really enjoy but has felt comfortable, following their dreams to be a dog walker or an astronaut or whatever else is their passion.  

As the article makes clear we should all be looking after our people, they are after all our greatest assets, and we should be treating them accordingly. That’s not news, even the most frugal of CFOs has long since recognised that investing in the health, wellbeing and development of the workforce is money well spent. However, the harsh reality for most companies is that when we’ve nurtured, grown and developed our people we just don’t have the scale of operation, or the budget (especially in the current race to the top salaries being offered), to offer them the opportunity that they are looking for. Cue resignation… 

Anybody that has the privilege of managing people will know that sinking feeling when one of your best comes to you and says the dreaded “I’m resigning”.  Selfishly our first thoughts go to…. the timing couldn’t be worse, how will I manage? Who will fill the gap? Recruitment is a nightmare.  Good leaders, though, only need a moment or two to get a grip and turn their thoughts back to the person that they have mentored, trained, and challenged to come out of their comfort zone. The real life human that they have worked alongside through good times and bad. They have a new and exciting opportunity, isn’t that great? Isn’t that something to be happy about, maybe just a little bit proud of or even celebrate?  

From a company view, of course it’s very disappointing and there will undoubtedly be disruption in the short term but isn’t there also an opportunity?  We now have a vacancy that could give one of our other bright stars a great opportunity and prevent them from leaving. If the worst happens and external recruitment is required maybe there is opportunity within that too. Won’t that become somebody else’s reason to resign? Tempting in somebody new who’s excited and full of bright ideas provides boundless possibilities. 

“The Great Resignation” won’t last forever, in time things will settle down again.  As leaders and as organisations our employees are only ever really on loan to us. If we really want to get it right then we should treat them well, train and develop them and give them all the tools they need to succeed. Make the absolute most of them whilst we can. Then, when the time comes that they must go, we thank them for everything they have done, wish them well, be genuinely pleased for them and be proud of the part we played in their journey. 

Karen Morris, Interim Chief Financial Officer

 

Photo by Junseong Lee on Unsplash

A Partnership for Better Mental Health

A Partnership for Better Mental Health

I made a conscious choice 7 years ago to return to working directly in the public interest. That’s not to say that working for private organisations is bad, but I wanted to do more with my small contribution to humanity than simply enrich remote city shareholders. Although the work we do at Delt is not world changing, the work our customers and shareholders do is simply amazing. 

The 17th edition of the Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum looks at what people see as the biggest risks to health, happiness and our future as well as the rate of change in some of those risk areas.  

When I was a child, well before the Good Friday agreement, the threat of terrorism was a constant, if slightly remote concern. Having lived through 9/11 in the US, being in the air at the time of the World Trade Centre attacks, terrorism and its consequences became very much front and centre. Working for the government, at the time, my car got searched for bombs every day as I went into the office. My team were responsible for opening all incoming mail in an airtight room to intercept any anthrax that had been mailed to us. Terrorism hasn’t gone away and the perception of its risk hasn’t changed all that much either. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the level of concern about terrorism has risen by 1.6%. 

Compare that to risk concern increasing around IT Infrastructure Breakdown at 2.4%, Technology Governance Failure at 4.5% or Adverse Tech Advances at 5.3% and I find surprisingly that being CEO for a Tech Company carries a greater weight of responsibility for perceived societal risks than domestic terrorism. Fortunately, any consideration of needing to change jobs is moderated by finding Mental Health Deterioration near the top of the list at a 23% increase. That’s really something to be worried about. I suspect everyone has seen evidence of this over Covid. Certainly, every employer has.  

As a company we are investing even more than before in employee wellness, in mental health first aid and providing support wherever and however we can. In collaboration with Devon MIND we are hosting a series of lunchtime talks to help broaden awareness. However, the magic in Delt lies not so much in what we do, but in what our customers do. It is for this reason that I am so inspired by the work we are doing with Devon Partnership NHS Trust who deliver services that really matter to people with mental health and learning disability needs – in Devon, the wider South West region and nationally. Their 10 year plan and our ability to materially contribute to it, gives me confidence that whilst we might be small, our goals and impact have always been rightly big.  

Giles Letheren, Chief Executive Officer