I have to begin by saying a very big thank you for all of your efforts over the Easter period. We’ve had lots of challenges but thanks to your team work we’ve been able to rise to them. Last week we improved waiting times in our emergency department despite it being really busy. At points nine out of every ten people were being admitted or discharged within four hours; I’m very grateful to our One Team who made this possible. I know how tough it’s been since the bank holiday with the high demand we knew was coming, but keep going!

I’ve enjoyed visiting a number of wards this week and speaking principally to our ward managers. I have heard how difficult it can be to maintain morale when sickness is so high and when colleagues have to move to ensure all areas are safe. As ever ward managers were focussed on solutions and it’s been really interesting to hear their thoughts and ideas about how we harness the collective strength of our One Team. I also visited endoscopy today and spoke with colleagues working in incredibly challenging circumstances. They’re doing a great job and they shared some things that we can do to make things better. I really enjoyed the visit and look forward to working with them on their suggestions.

It’s not only people in clinical roles going above and beyond for our patients. My thanks go to Sasha Stewart, our education business manager, who went out of her way to help a patient get a specific adaptor in order to charge their laptop to be able to communicate with family overseas. I know this will have been greatly appreciated.

Earlier today it was excellent to spend time with all of the other CEOs in the Sussex system. We had really positive discussions and I look forward to building on them in the weeks and months ahead to improve healthcare for our Sussex population.

At our team talk briefing for colleagues earlier in the week I spoke a bit more about what we’re doing to act on the national staff survey results. Alongside relaunching our recognition schemes and bolstering support following instances of abuse, I’ll be bringing different groups of staff together for more detailed conversations about how we can improve working life. As part of our approach to getting regular feedback, I’d also like to encourage all of you to complete our regular quarterly staff survey. There’s only just over a week to go to complete this quarter’s survey, so please take the time to fill it in – the link is in your email inbox!

Well done to consultant in special care dentistry, Mili Doshi, dental officer Daniel Gillway, and Mouthcare Matters lead Loraine Macintyre who this month published important research in Nature regarding the impact of a quality improvement initiative to reduce denture loss in hospital. Their research concluded that denture loss is underreported in hospitals and so having denture loss protocols in place alongside awareness of how to report is absolutely crucial. I know the team are already looking at other innovative solutions to the issue of lost dentures and it’s really good to have our colleagues leading the way.

We’re preparing to mark International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Day of the Nurse on 12 May. As part of the celebrations, we’re encouraging SASH staff to nominate anyone in the nursing and midwifery professions here, who you would like to celebrate and who has demonstrated our core values - Dignity and Respect; Compassion; Safety and Quality and One Team. Find out how to nominate on SASHnet and once you’ve done so, your words will be displayed at a special midwives and nurses celebration event.

Please remember many of our colleagues and patients are continuing to observe Ramadan. If you haven’t seen it already, we published advice for supporting colleagues and patients and you can read it on SASHnet.

Finally, for any keen golfers out there don’t miss your chance to join a charity golf day which is raising money for SASH Charity. It’s happening on 26 May at Kingswood Golf Course. There’s breakfast on arrival, 18 holes of golf plus some fun competitions, a two-course lunch and a charity auction. All the proceeds go to our charity! You can find out about how much it is to enter and how you can reserve your place here.

Best wishes

Angela Stevenson

Chief executive