East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust was established in 2003 and is a major acute Trust located in Lancashire in the heart of the North West of England, with Bolton and Manchester to the south, Preston to the west and the Pennines to the east forming a natural boundary with Yorkshire. ELHT provides high quality healthcare services primarily to the residents of East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, which have a combined population in the region of 521,400.

How we empower and hold to account the people who are employed to deliver on a day to day basis – rather than SMOC and Directors having to site manage (even though we call it on-call) at DGM level we need to work for the greater good of the organisation An example of this is the deployment of staff to the most challenging areas.

“We are approaching a really challenging time of year as we try and manage winter and all that it entails. We needed to get every senior manager, nurse and doctor into a room to start planning and building relationships to avert another crisis.  Tangram facilitated a great day that gave us space and time to work on non-work related challenges and allow us time to have a bit of fun and start resolving some of the more serious issues we have as an SLT “

Nicol Orton
Head of Training and Development


In October 2013, as a result of the Keogh Review the Trust was put into the highest risk category by the Care Quality Commission.

It was put into special measures and there were calls for resignations. Concerns centred on the Trust’s policy of opening extra beds, or leaving patients on chairs and trolleys, to deal with surges in demand.

In December 2013, it became clear that stroke services at the Royal Blackburn Hospital were under threat.

The service which has dealt with 759 patients in the last 12 months has missed a key performance target every month this year for 90% of stroke patients to be admitted to a specialist ward within four hours of arrival.

This was achieved in just 47 per cent of cases between April and September this year.


Initially a one day team development conference event was created that allowed the ELHT Team to come together as one team to allow the team members to…

  • Really feel as if they are part of the team.
  • Start to work together as one unit.
  • To align the people to the common goal &vision
  • To build upon the Patient Pathway Programme
  • Break down Barriers
  • Empathy with Targets

The team activities were also tailored to the key messages, with the Main Challenge being ‘Chain Reaction’. The day also promoted cross-functional, and locational, communication and co-operation by giving all of the team an opportunity to work together, collaborate and also allow the different elements to meet, discuss, understand and work with each other in a different and unique setting.

AkzoNobel Graduate programme 7th - 9th September 2014 - 361


  • 60 senior leaders who left energised and ready for action
  • Attendees given the time to have conversations that they normally have to postpone
  • A new sense of team work and can-do attitude
  • A higher level of trust and acceptance amongst the SLT
  • The beginnings of a plan to avert a winter crisis within the trust
  • A new-found sense of fun through shared experiences