I’m delighted to say, albeit fairly tentatively, that things seem to be improving a little, we have closed a number of escalation areas facilitating an increase in elective work especially in endoscopy and angiography. We treated more patients in the emergency department within four hours improving patient experience and we have delivered a significant improvement in the speed with which we are able to accept handover of patients arriving by ambulance, enabling ambulances to respond to patients in the community faster. It is our intention to keep our escalation areas closed as far as possible in order to allow us to focus on those patients awaiting an operation, a procedure or diagnostic test. My thanks to everyone for their continued efforts.
Our maternity and paediatric wards remain extremely busy. We’ve opened some additional beds and I am aware of the pressure this puts on our team - I am grateful for all they are doing to ensure the safety of our women and children. We are investing in both of these areas and are out to recruit additional staff. Sometimes I worry that our midwifery and paediatric teams feel forgotten, please be assured that this isn’t the case, indeed I’ll be visiting regularly going forward in order to hear more about what we need to do to better support colleagues in these areas.
I was pleased to present more of my colleagues with long service awards this week and was delighted to see so many of you arriving to receive your certificate. Please keep coming and please share your feedback with us. Colleagues who were unable to make the session should email to arrange a photo and collection from AD52.
We are in the process of signing the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise from the nation to those who serve, or have served that they will be treated fairly and not disadvantaged as a result of their service. This week is Armed Forces Week, and Wednesday 22 June marked Reserves Day. I was delighted, indeed proud, to see SASH staff who are members of the Armed Forces community (as reservists, veterans, spouses or family members) wearing uniforms and medals, sharing stories and explaining the important work that our steering group are doing to help us to become 'veteran aware.' The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is a group of NHS provider organisations in England committed to providing the best standards of care for the armed forces community based on the principles in the Armed Forces Covenant. It is important to me that we become a ‘veteran aware’ trust and I’m pleased with the progress we are making.
Speaking of support, I was recently notified about an amazing piece of work the ENT team carried out to support our patients. They held a peer-to-peer evening for head and neck cancer patients where those who attended could talk through life after head and neck cancer and find out what support is available to them. About 30 patients and 15 partners and family members attended the session and the feedback was phenomenal. Thank you to Catherine Ghosh, clinical nurse specialist, Kay Regan, medical secretary, Sean Fang, consultant ENT surgeon and Karan Kapoor, ENT head and neck surgeon for all their hard work organising this event and for going above and beyond for our patients. I hope this inspires teams across the trust to consider how a similar approach may be used in their areas. If you are already doing something similar, please do get in touch with me and let me know.
This week I would like to give a shout out to the eSASH digital training team who have supported around 2,500 staff via email, telephone and in person with their eSASH eLearning. The team have gone above and beyond, demonstrating our Trust values. As you will be very aware, eSASH training is an important part of being prepared for the big changes ahead when we go live with our new SASH Cerner EPR, particularly with the deadline to complete eLearning approaching this weekend, so you must make sure you’re ready for September. Face-to-face training will begin with the digital trainers from Monday and if you’ve already booked your session you would have now received an email about what to expect for this part of your training. I am looking forward to my training session in the near future - I’ll let you know how I get on!
On 8 March 2022 we celebrated International Women’s Day by setting up our Women’s Network. We are focussing on our staff for the timebeing, but will be thinking about the wider health implications for our patients and visitors as we move forward. Next week is National Breastfeeding Week and an area of focus for the network is access to facilities that enable those that want to, to continue breastfeeding. We’ve put together a survey to understand experiences of our staff who have gone through or are still going through a breastfeeding / infant feeding journey. Please share your feedback by Sunday 26 June 2022 to help us guide the work that we are doing.
Finally, I was saddened to hear about Robert ‘Bob’ Clarke’s passing. Bob began volunteering in the discharge unit in March 2010 and gave so much of his time to help others, from pharmacy runs to tea-making, he was always happy to help out. The team and I are very grateful for all that he did to support colleagues and patients. On behalf of us all at SASH, I extend our sincerest condolences to Bob's family.