I felt the message this week had to reflect on the big event of last week, the General Election. Whatever our individual political views, I think it’s fair to say it’s been a time of uncertainty for us all. The top two issues for all the main political parties have been the EU Exit and NHS funding, both of which have an impact at a national level across the NHS, for us as a Trust and for many individual colleagues.
Whilst these are not new issues the scrutiny placed upon them in recent months has been intense. We’ve all heard strong words used to describe the pressure the NHS is operating under, such as ‘crisis’ and it’s easy to feel worried or dispirited. I’d say that whilst we are often working in a less than perfect environment and extra investment is needed and welcome, our priority continues to be providing the best possible care for patients. You all do an outstanding job, day in day out, and I know that won’t change.
Whilst the outcome of the general election will be positive for some and disappointing for others – testament to living in a democratic society – we will essentially continue to do what we’ve always done. This is to put patients first, work together and support each other through more difficult or challenging times. You may be interested in reading the Conservative Party priorities for the NHS. It is reassuring to see a focus on investment, upgrading hospital buildings, addressing workforce issues and improving access to primary care – all of which are issues we face locally in a similar way to trusts throughout the country.
As a Trust we are doing all we can to improve facilities and services and make them sustainable and fit for the future through the ASPH Transformation Programme. We are also working very proactively with our local health and care partners in Surrey Heartlands and as part of the North West Surrey Integrated Care Partnership.
Locally we also have a new Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, Dr Ben Spencer who has spent the last ten years working as an NHS doctor, specialising in mental health. You can read more about Dr Spencer here. We will now take some time to establish a relationship with Dr Spencer and look forward to welcoming him to the Trust.
Going into January I know it will feel particularly unsettling for our colleagues from the EU and I’d ask everyone to bear this in mind and offer as much support as possible. As an organisation we will be doing all we can to support colleagues and keep them happily working with us as they are a hugely important and valued part of the team. All up-to-date information on the EU Exit can be found on the website.
We are a robust and proactive organisation and as new mandates and direction emerges at a national level, I feel we are well equipped to respond and adapt quickly. So I think my key message is to keep doing what you’re already doing so well. Looking after the patients and each other and keeping focus on our vision to provide an outstanding experience and the best outcome for patients and the team.
On a more light hearted note I know we have multiple Christmas activities and celebrations planned this week, including the first ever ASPH Pantomine. The very best of luck to everyone taking part. Andy and I will also be judging the Christmas doors at Ashford and St Peter’s so I hope to see many of you as we walk round.
With best wishes for the week ahead.