Our maternity and obstetrics team have always worked tirelessly to deliver the best care possible for local families. In 2019 the service (specifically) was rated ‘Outstanding’ as part of our CQC inspection, but they continue to look at ways to improve. As you will be aware there is now further scrutiny and like every maternity service in the country they’ve been implementing the recommendations from the Ockenden Review and sharing more and more regular updates through our internal governance, including the Board. On Tuesday this week we had a visit from NHS England and some of our peers to look at how we’re doing. It’s informal (the formal report will come in 6 to 8 weeks time) but I was delighted that we received immediate and positive feedback from the visit.

Regional chief midwife Kaye Wilson tweeted:

“A fantastic visit to @MaternitySash today! Safety, quality improvement, co-production & staff wellbeing were evident everywhere. Your dashboard and infographic are excellent! Special mention for your MVP [Maternity Voices Partnership] Chair and the lovely MCA Max!  Lots to be proud of. #marvellous.”

[MCA Max is Max who is a doctor in training who has chosen to do additional work as a maternity care assistant (MCA) as he learns more]. We know there’s more to do, we do make mistakes and we can get things wrong but they told us that it was good that we were clear and honest about that in our assessments of ourselves. The maternity and obstetrics team should be very proud of the feedback we were given. I might add that the ‘preparation’ for this visit has been many years of consistent and committed work, so I’m pleased the team heard this feedback.

Welcome to our new junior

This week saw significant moments for colleagues at the start of their journeys with our One Team and some who are moving on to new chapters.

Firstly, more of our new FY1 doctors in training started their inductions with us – a very big welcome on behalf of everyone at SASH and please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything you’re not sure about. As well as welcoming new doctors, we are also preparing to say thank you and farewell to other doctors in training who are moving on to their next placements or moving up to different roles. We were very pleased to hold a celebration event last night, recognising their significant achievements during their time with us.

Secondly, this week we said farewell to three fantastic nurses who are retiring.

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    Caroline and Jackie receive
    flowers before heading
    on retirement.
    Caroline Allison returned to SASH in 2008 as a senior sister in Critical Care, and subsequently was promoted to Matron. She has been an amazing leader and superb at strategically managing the unit in challenging times. She was instrumental in expanding the ICU during the pandemic, and supporting staff through this unprecedented time. She was very nice to me while I was buddying the critical care team (I learnt an awful lot), and has been a tower of strength to many, particularly her senior colleagues. Caroline went on to take a lead in the development and delivery of our Cerner EPR for critical care as part of the e-SASH team. Her analytical brain and clinical expertise have been just what was needed to see this project through and she has played a huge part in getting e-SASH ready to go. Her contribution to SASH will be remembered for years to come. Her drive for patient safety and experience and her calm demeanour have made her a strong role model to others.
  • Jackie Mitchell started in Critical Care at Crawley Hospital in 1996, and then moved to East Surrey Hospital after the merger in 2004. She was a sister before being promoted to Senior Sister in Critical Care. Her passion for patient experience led to the inspirational development of Patient Diaries for Critical Care patients (sometimes you won’t remember anything at all of your time in the ICU so the diaries are invaluable for people to know what was going on, and the impact of that was remarkable) and subsequently ICU Follow-up clinics. She is admired by many, known for her caring, mothering nature and her infectious laugh and bubbly personality which cannot help but have a positive effect on those around her. Jackie took up a secondment role to e-SASH in 2018 to help with the role out and development of Cerner. Her clinical expertise has been invaluable in this role. During COVID she worked on the frontline, to help her colleagues deal with the unprecedented effects of COVID pneumonia on patients and staff.
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    Ingrid is queen on her
    last day before retiring
    from midwifery.
    Ingrid Marsden joined us in 1994 as a Senior Sister and became the lead nurse / matron of our neonatal unit in 2010. Ingrid has led the team with kindness, care and always with a smile. Ingrid championed neonatal services and was a driving force behind the development of our new amazing unit which opened in 2020. We increased the number of cots by 25%, doubled our intensive care / high dependency capacity, and the space around the incubators quadrupled in size and is the envy of many units – this is a fantastic legacy for Ingrid to leave. She really was instrumental in making the case for development and ensuring we could deliver it. Ingrid has been a brilliant role model in the unit, always available to support the team no matter what time of the day! She will be sorely missed.

We wish all three the very best in their retirements and thank you to each for what you’ve given this Trust, and we will miss you. We are also saying goodbye to Pauline Bradbury from our cashiers’ office, who retired this afternoon. She has been with us for five years and has done a fantastic job with all of the extra things she’s been asked to do that weren’t really cashiers’ work, as well as dealing brilliantly with staff and patients every day. We wish her well, and I’m pleased that her knee is getting better.

A mention also (as there’s a lot here about critical care) that the Trust’s Charity Committee authorised installation of a big design to go on the wall outside the unit describing all the kit you are connected to when you go to ICU. I don’t know who came up with the idea but it’s a great one in helping patients and families get used to what happens in the unit and I look forward to it being put up.  

Thank you to everyone involved in this week’s SASH+ rapid process improvement workshop (RPIW) focussed on the triage process in the emergency department. The team have worked hard to improve the environment and communication for both staff and patients and to review and redesign the streaming process to ensure that streamers don’t get side tracked onto other tasks and have standard work in place to reduce variation. The team generated 64 ideas which they have tested during the week and will be embedding their improvements over the coming weeks. And speaking of the emergency department, recognising the pressure our colleagues in the ambulance service have been under in recent weeks, we were delighted to support the South East Coast Ambulance Service to station an ice cream van by our emergency department for their staff.

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Congratulations to Class of 2022!

I also had the pleasure of presenting certificates to the latest cohort of graduates from our conversational English classes this morning. Well done to all and thank you to our team of teachers! 

Finally, I wanted to share with colleagues a letter from national leaders at NHS England thanking you for your efforts during the recent heatwave. You can read the letter here and it is thoroughly deserved.

Angela is now on holiday (and hasn’t had a COVID relapse), and will be back on 10 August.

Best wishes
Paul Simpson