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James Thomas

James Thomas
Chief Operating Officer


I would like to thank all colleagues who worked over the Christmas and new year period, I can’t keep away from social media (a new year’s resolution maybe?) and have particularly enjoyed the photos and well wishes from teams at work across the hospitals, it is fantastic to see such festive and team spirit.

January is seasonally a very busy month for the Trust as a provider of urgent care services, with ED attendances and admissions at some of their highest levels of the year. I thought it may be helpful to summarise some of the key actions we are taking in the hospitals to ensure we are best placed to deal with this busy period.

In the run up to Christmas the surgical specialties operating from the St Peter’s site have begun to reduce elective operating and focus on those patients arriving in ED, which is in line with national best practice to cope with increased demand during winter. They have temporarily moved out of Falcon Ward which has been occupied by the ward team from Maple who have moved across temporarily. This has enabled us to open Maple Ward as a medicine escalation ward providing additional dedicated capacity for medical inpatients. Some of the Falcon team have moved down to the Urology Centre which for the peak of the pressures has been set up as a surgical inpatient ward. Our Cardiology interventional day case unit has also been set up as an expansion of Birch Ward to provide further medical capacity.

I know making these changes happen has taken a lot of work and flexibility from ward and medical teams. A genuine thank you to all concerned – this has enabled us to keep specialties and teams together and move into the best position for supporting all of our patients who are so unwell that they require admission through the next few months.

At Ashford there has been an equal amount of development. In the last fortnight our Infusion Suite has now moved into its new dedicated space on the ground floor of Ashford Hospital. This exciting development provides a lovely environment and more space for our growing infusion service. Our medical ward based on Chaucer at Ashford has now moved into Wordworth Ward, a larger space with better facilitates. This ward is now a hive of activity with dedicated onsite support of social services, pharmacists, physiotherapy, occupational therapists and discharge coordinators and consultant ward rounds through the week.

Moving forward we have two very exciting developments in the next month. Our new Acute Medical Unit ward will open in the next few months in the former therapy outpatient space on the Level 2 corridor at St Peter’s. This will enable us to launch new models of care and facilitate the necessary moves to enable our ward refurbishment programme. Also opening in the next month is our Emergency Surgery Ambulatory Care facility in the space formerly used as the post room and cashiers office at St Peter’s. This will enable us to provide a better ambulatory care model to some groups of patients requiring urgent surgery, negating the need for admission prior to surgery for some patients. It will also enable a range of ‘hot’ clinics for patients needing to see the surgical team. We will of course keep you posted with more details as these developments progress.

In the meantime on behalf of the executive team I would like to wish all you all a happy new year and all the very best for 2020.

Wishing you all a good week ahead.

With very best wishes,

James Thomas
Chief Operating Officer



Each week Suzanne Rankin, our Chief Executive, sends a message to staff about events at the hospitals, special achievements, and plans for the future.

We shall be adding them to this section as well as including them on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

From time to time, we shall ask other members of the Trust Board and clinical team to give their perspective on the week in our hospitals.


About Suzanne

Suzanne was announced as the new Chief Executive in June 2014.

Suzanne began her nursing and management career with the Royal Navy, including deployment during the 1990 Gulf War; a spell as Senior Nursing Officer at NATO Headquarters in Lisbon; and Nursing Officer in charge of the 56-bed Trauma and Orthopaedic Unit at the former Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport, Hampshire.

Past Messages