Hello all,

Today we mark Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Day and so I’d like to begin this week’s update by saying a huge thank you to all of our AHPs. Despite AHPs making up the third largest workforce in the NHS, many of the professions aren’t as well known or recognised as they should be. Quite simply, their impact on the care patients receive deserves a higher profile. We wanted to do something about that this year, so we’ve put together a dedicated area of our website where people can find out more about the AHPs that we have at SASH. You can visit the area and find out more about AHPs here – including more information on each role that come under the umbrella of AHPs. We’ve also produced a dedicated framed print with QR codes that take you to each profession listed. It will be displayed at East Surrey Hospital in the coming weeks.

Earlier this week we held a SASH+ visioning event with our emergency department. We had over 25 people including many representatives from our teams, colleagues from primary care and a patient representative. The aim was to design a new process for patients who walk in to the emergency department, ensuring they get to the right place at the right time to see the right clinician for their injury or ailment. Sometimes this will mean helping them to get the care they need outside of hospital. This will mean that patients get prompt care from the best place for their need, while it will also help colleagues to prioritise care for the people most in need of their expertise. When things are so pressurised, it’s hard to take the time out to have these discussions, but it’s so important in helping us to improve services and ultimately making things better for patients and colleagues across health and care. My thanks to everyone who attended, and to Sue Jenkins, director of kaizen, and colleagues for running the day.

It’s very important to me that we design new ways of working like this that help better meet patients’ needs. Another example is work that Richard Brown, director of outcomes, has been leading to look at the care for local patients with long term conditions who require frequent contact with clinicians. Yesterday I attended a national event with chief executives from across the country and leaders from NHS England. Richard’s work was cited as an example of analysing information to better understand the needs of patients. This in turn enables us to work with partners at Place level to design better services – and that’s exactly what we’re now doing.

This week we’ve again seen a marked increase in the prevalence of COVID, with over 100 patients in our services with the virus. To ensure the highest standard of infection control we are reminding everyone of the importance of wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene throughout our buildings. It’s also so important that people take up the offer of the autumn booster. This week we started offering the vaccination to staff at a dedicated clinic at East Surrey Hospital. Make sure you get yours while that clinic is on site.

Congratulations to Mili Doshi, consultant in special care dentistry, who has edited a new book on oral health for an ageing population, written for the dental community. Within the book we have no fewer than four authors from SASH – so very well done to Iain Wilkinson, Richard Fitzgerald, Naomi Rahman and Shrina Nathwani. You can find out more about the book here. Congratulations Mili – putting SASH on the map again!

Thank you to all of you who have already completed your national staff survey. I can’t stress enough how keen I am to hear from as many people as possible. It will help our Board to understand what we’re getting right and what we need to improve, so please complete the survey at the earliest opportunity. Don’t forget, by completing it you’re also in with a chance of winning a special prize this year!

Finally, I wanted to share two great bits of feedback from patients this week for two very busy teams.

A local woman tweeted us about her maternity care, saying “It’s really been the best care I’ve ever received in 5 pregnancies, thank you SASH. I was born under you so it seems lovely in a way that I’ve “come home” to deliver in Surrey for my last maternity journey.” Well done to the team – you’ve been coping terrifically with very high demand and this feedback is great to read.

It’s no secret that our emergency department has been extremely busy recently too, so it was great to read the following feedback: “Would like to thank A&E staff at SASH for their care yesterday. Clearly working in v. diff conditions. Did bloods, ECG, chest X-ray and diagnosis in 3hrs. Was in bits on Saturday, on the mend now.” Really well done to the team – while we work to make things better for you, you are providing such valuable support for so many people.

Angela Stevenson

Chief executive