Paul deputy chief executiveIn covering for Angela, who is on leave this week, I’ve been incredibly impressed by how our staff have coped with yet another extraordinarily busy week as we lead up to Easter. I’ve been able to see first hand many examples of people really living our values. You’ve been prioritising safety and quality, making sure the very high number of patients needing our care get the best service possible.

We’ve had a significant number of people medically ready to leave our services, but they can’t – though it’s good to see our One Team of health and care partners at Place (our local geography), doing what it can. We’ve been working particularly closely with South East Coast Ambulance Service over conveyances and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) and First Community who are working in the hospital to help people who are ready to leave to be discharged (they’ve been giving us extra help which we really appreciate). There remain challenges finding placements and packages of care in the domiciliary care sector, but despite these challenges we secured safe discharges for lots of our patients this week – I’m very grateful; more discharges keeps us safe and gives us capacity.

We are continuing to benefit from the significant work undertaken as part of our intensive kaizen programme looking at ambulance handovers, the discharge process and our board and ward rounds. This work is continuing and, while the demand we’ve seen this week might mean it doesn’t feel like it, we know that empowering you (the experts in each area) to make changes will make a huge, sustainable difference for our patients and our colleagues.

Emergency department

The public can of course play their part. Along with our partners we have been promoting use of the full range of NHS services across the bank holiday weekend and beyond as it’s really important that the emergency department is kept for very urgent and life threatening cases.

Our paediatric teams have also been very busy and I’m grateful for their continued dedication; we’re working hard to ensure we have enough capacity.

Within this context of an extremely busy trust, it was fantastic how our theatres team, Nigel Martin and the hospital sterilisation and decontamination unit (HSDU) team, and our estates colleagues worked to fix our broken washer which ensures vital equipment is able to be used for operations and procedures.

World Parkinson's Day blue lights




We began the week by marking World Parkinson’s Day. We completed around 1,000 sit-to-stands across the organisation and even turned the top of East Surrey Hospital blue to raise awareness. My thanks go to Scott Goldsmith for making that happen, and if you haven’t seen the incredible footage he took of it I’d urge you to take a look on our website (good droning, Scott!).

Angela will be back next week, and I’m sure you will join me in congratulating her as she’s already been named in the Health Service Journal’s top 50 chief executives – so it looks like she’s settling in ok.

Thank you to all our staff for your fantastic efforts this week and I’m very grateful to those of you working over the bank holiday weekend. We know it’s going to be a challenging one, and we expect next week to be difficult too, but you’ve already shown this week that through your ability, brilliant team work and commitment we can meet those challenges! And if you are celebrating it, I wish you a very Happy Easter.

Paul Simpson
Deputy chief executive, chief finance officer and director of estates and facilities