Hello all,

This week we welcomed Dr Dan Boden, the national clinical lead for emergency care who visited our emergency department (ED). It is clear from the national data that the longer patients spend in our emergency department prior to admission, the greater the risk of harm. It is therefore important to remind ourselves that the performance standards relating to ED are safety targets and as such are rightly a matter of priority. Whilst Dr Boden highlighted some areas of good practice within the department and complimented the ED team’s commitment to continuous improvement, it is clear that we need to improve flow across the organisation. To do this, we need to ensure that each day a patient spends in one of our beds is a green day, a day where progress is made in delivering the treatment and care they need to get better and to facilitate their discharge home. Ensuring that our patients don’t stay in our beds longer than necessary is also a safety target since prolonged stay in hospital is also a risk. Going forward, this is an area that we’ll focus on, and I am excited to see what improvements we can make. The other benefit of course will be that we will free up bed capacity to maximise our elective work enabling us to focus on patients who are waiting for a diagnostic test, a procedure, or an operation.

I am of course aware that there are a number of patients in our beds who are well enough to leave but who require social care input to facilitate their discharge. We are working closely with colleagues in both Surrey and Sussex systems to utilise funding announced this week by the Secretary of State to help source appropriate placements or care packages for these patients. Specifically in Surrey, our teams - working with colleagues across the system - have collectively agreed an East Surrey Coordinated Discharge programme. This programme will take a ‘One Team’ approach that removes organisational boundaries and better involves patients and their families in decision-making regarding discharge. With the full commitment of our system partners, we launch the programme in February.

I must address the added pressure we are experiencing because of traffic flow and parking disruption at East Surrey Hospital. Due to ongoing congestion, Metrobus have decided to temporarily suspend their service to the hospital when traffic is at its busiest (this tends to be during the day when traffic to the hospital is at its highest). This is being monitored daily and updates to the timetable can be found on the Metrobus Facebook page. Where Metrobus cannot serve the East Surrey Hospital stop, it will instead stop at Three Arch Road which is a short walk away. Further details can be found here. I know this is not ideal, but it is important we all remember the bigger picture, that at the end of this all, we will have two new wards that will mean increased capacity at the hospital, as well as new, bigger car park that will be able to accommodate more patients, visitors, and staff. I know this is frustrating, but please know we are working as fast as we can to resolve this.

At the height of this pressured time, it is incredibly important to me to hear from you so that I can understand how you are feeling. Since last year we’ve been conducting shorter quarterly staff surveys as well as the big annual one. I’m keen to hear what really matters to you, what your experience of working here is like and what would make it better. Please share your views, it does only take a few minutes to complete the survey and it’s completely confidential.

We have recently seen a welcome and steady decline in the number of patients with a positive COVID or flu test in our services. This decline is also reflected in the number of you with COVID or flu-related absences. As a result, we’ve taken the decision to make mask wearing optional for staff and visitors in non-clinical areas. Mask wearing continues to be mandatory for those in outpatient and inpatient areas. Thank you all for adhering to all previous infection prevention control guidance at SASH.

Having taken such a huge step in our digital journey with the launch of eSASH in September 2022, we are keen to progress further. Before Christmas we submitted a case to NHS England for financial support to help us on this journey, and I am delighted to say that last night we heard that we had passed the main hurdle of the Frontline Digitisation process - we’ll be sharing more about what this means in the coming weeks. Thank you to Ben Emly and his team for making our case.  

Congratulations to Radio Redhill who have again been shortlisted – this time in two categories – for a National Hospital Radio Award. Radio Redhill is up for Station of the Year for their programming in 2022 and Special Event for its coverage of the Brighton Marathon and various charities. The awards ceremony will take place in March, and I wish the station the very best of luck.

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Finally, I hope my colleagues, patients and members of our community who are celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend have a wonderful time with friends and family. 

Best wishes

Angela Stevenson
Chief executive