Gavin Boyle's commendation video transcript

Gavin Boyle

STEPHEN SMITH: I now have great pleasure in inviting Professor Keith McLay, Provost Learning and Teaching, to give the commendation for the conferment of the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University to Gavin Boyle.

KEITH MCLAY: Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, honoured guests and graduates, it gives me great pleasure to be presenting today Gavin Boyle for the award of Honorary Doctor of the University.

Gavin is Chief Executive of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country. He lives in Sheffield with his wife Sharon, who is supporting him today, along with his three children.

Gavin joined the NHS just over 30 years ago as a general management trainee in Liverpool. This followed time at university studying a degree in biological sciences and then a short period of time in private industry. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration and completed the Programme for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. He spent the first part of his NHS life in and around Liverpool, in both community and care organisations and hospitals. He then moved to Exeter and then Winchester where he was responsible for a broad range of hospital and community services.

More recently he has held board level posts as Director of Operations at the Oxford Radcliffe Trust, the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, and at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Gavin held the position of Chief Executive at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust before joining Derby Teaching Hospitals in March 2016 as Chief Executive. He oversaw the merger of Derby and Burton hospitals in 2018 which was a huge integration project.

Gavin is a non-executive member of the supervisory board of GS1, the digital standards and barcoding organisation, and he is Chair of the East Midlands Radiography Network and Chair of the East Midlands Pathology Network.

During recent months, Gavin and his team have tackled the enormous issues posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. His regular blogs have reached out not only to the NHS Trust but also the city and beyond, explaining how he has engaged with the issues before him and being transparent in his responses to the challenges.

Throughout the pandemic, the Trust has retained a strong partnership with the University. This has been built over a period of time during which the University and Gavin have worked collaboratively to innovate new roles securing a stable and diverse workforce. Over the last 18 months, he has enabled our students to maintain their practical and applied learning ensuring that they have been able to qualify on time. Gavin has never been afraid to challenge himself or the University but is always prepared to listen. Gavin's leadership now extends across the Integrated Care System and is taking collaboration in Derbyshire to the next level.

Chancellor, in recognition of his achievements during the pandemic and his strong support for the University, we are delighted to award Gavin Boyle the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University.

GAVIN BOYLE: Thank you Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Deputy Lieutenant, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen and of course, graduates of 2020.

I think the first thing I'd like to say is that I accept the honorary award, but I do so with a sense of humility. I feel slightly unworthy if I'm being honest, but I accept it because I think it's a symbol of the incredibly strong and important relationship that exists between the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton and the University of Derby.

It's been the best of times, it's been the worst of times. The worst of times because as we've said, I don't think as a society we've faced as great a challenge as that which we faced over the last 18 months and it's certainly true to say, that the NHS since its inception in 1948 has not faced a comparable demand for its services.

It's been an extremely challenging time and we know that the communities in the Midlands particularly have born a heavy load. We've seen high rates of community infection, sadly deaths and actually people now living with the long-term condition of long Covid, as well as those waiting for routine treatments because of the backlogs that have developed. We also know that our frontline colleagues have had to face enormous challenges, as indeed have those graduates that are with us today who have maintained their placements throughout the pandemic, and sadly for my own organisation at UHBD we lost seven members of our UHDB family.

But it's been the best of times in other ways, this has been a time where I think those working in the NHS and the care sector and other frontline services have shown their quality, have shown their courage, their resilience, their commitment and loyalty to the communities they serve. They've shown their character and I've been incredibly humbled and proud to have played a small part in that.

The pandemic has also been a huge catalyst for innovation and change. We've seen new clinical pathways emerge, new treatments, new medicines, new ways of working. Who would have thought just 18 months ago the huge part that Zoom and MS Teams plays now in our professional lives, perhaps helping us to cut down on our travel and meet some of our climate challenge as well?

So, it's been a time of great challenge but also a time where I think so many people have risen to that challenge and been there for our communities when they've needed us the most. And one of the things that I was really committed to, together with the University, right at the beginning of the pandemic, was recognising that this is a marathon, so we were determined to keep as much of our placement support for students in place as we could do safely. We felt that that was the right thing to do and I'm glad to say that in partnership we achieved that to a significant extent. But I would like to pay tribute to the graduates that are here today for persevering, for seeing it through. It's been an unprecedented period, but I think you've shown incredible resilience and commitment, and the reason why that's so important is because the skills that you've developed as a result of your university experience are the very skills that we need as we now turn and face the recovery and restoration, not only of our NHS but of our economy and our society as a whole.

So I will finish now where I began, which was to accept this this honorary award but to do so with a sense of humility, to accept it on behalf of my colleagues at University Hospital of Derby and Burton and to accept it as a symbol of the incredibly important relationship that exists between the Hospitals and the University of Derby. Thank you.

Gavin Boyle's commendation video

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