Hello everyone,

I’d like to begin this week by telling you about a really important scholarship we are privileged to be able to offer for the first time this year. Many of you will have known Vicky Daley, our wonderful deputy chief nurse who sadly passed away in 2020. Vicky was so passionate about nursing leadership and the importance of supporting talented nurses to develop in their careers. In light of this, and in memory of Vicky’s spirit and ambition to improve the experience and care of our patients, Vicky’s husband Matt has established The Vicky Daley Memorial Scholarship. It offers support to a senior Registered Nurse whose personal circumstances, or lack of available funding from elsewhere, might otherwise prevent them from taking up academic study that would lead to regional or national leadership roles, or representation of the nursing profession. Vicky was born, worked, and died in our Trust and this gesture is a wonderful legacy, befitting of her passionate devotion for the nursing profession and outstanding patient care. 

Vicky Daley scholarship

Colleagues, patients and visitors at SASH take great comfort from our chapels and prayer rooms. They provide space for people of all faiths and none to take time to quietly reflect on whatever has brought them to hospital. It’s so important that these spaces are there for everyone, so I am delighted that a group of colleagues have worked with the chaplaincy team to instate an idol of the Hindu God Shiva in the East Surrey Hospital chapel. We have many colleagues of Hindu faith – not to mention lots of our patients and visitors too – so this will make the chapel an even more welcoming space for them. Thank you to Dr Ravi Kumar, our chaplaincy and spiritual care team and everyone else involved. You can read more about the story here.

Hindu god

Earlier this week we marked international women’s day. I know some of you are wondering why; well, there are really important reasons for our patients and colleagues. It’s important for patient care because in many areas of healthcare research indicates that women experience poorer outcomes than their male counterparts. Here are three examples from research elsewhere:

  • in dementia care women were found to have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication1;
  • in pain management women were found to be less likely to be admitted to hospital when they complain of pain, be more likely to be significantly under treated for pain and be given less pain relief after identical procedures than men2;
  • in surgery women patients have been found to be adversely impacted by a relative shortage of women surgeons3.

Thankfully we’ve come a long way from some of the examples of discrimination throughout history but evidence shows there’s still much to be done to deliver equity. Let's also not forget that a pay gap still exists and that opportunities for women continue to be an issue. I’m given hope by the launch of our Women’s network which is open to everyone with an interest to help us protect, support and ensure opportunities for women patients, colleagues and our local population.

Yesterday colleagues at SASH bid farewell to Dr Virach Phongsathorn who is retiring having been a consultant in elderly medicine at SASH for over thirty years.  I worked closely with Dr Phongsathorn for many years, indeed he was my Chief, he showed me that it was possible to be humble, kind and compassionate whilst also being a leader.  I will always be grateful and will miss him although I hope he enjoys a well deserved retirement.

Finally, you may have seen that the local NHS, led by the Sussex Health and Care Partnership, has started a conversation about health services in Crawley – and is calling for people from across the town to get involved. ‘Let’s Talk Crawley’ encourages people to have their say on how health services are currently working and how they can be improved. You’ve got until 13 March to share your views. As an organisation we’re feeding into the conversation already, but we know many of our colleagues live in or around Crawley and you or your family may have valuable feedback. If you or your family want to contribute to the conversation, details are here.

Best wishes

Angela Stevenson

Chief executive

1 https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2016/dec/women-dementia-receive-less-medical-attention
2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18439195/
3 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/article-abstract/2786671