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On Monday I was pleased to be invited to our Research and Development Open Day, put together by Dr Isaac John, Martha Wrigley and the team. This was a very well attended and organised event and included a range of renowned speakers and high quality presentations from within our hospitals and from external partners. For example, we heard from Mark Tarrant, from the Hospital Liaison Committee of Jehovah’s Witnesses and our well known partner and colleague Pankaj Sharma, Professor of Neurology at the Royal Holloway.

You may have seen that Professor Sharma’s recent study of stroke patients on behalf of the Institute of Cardiovascular Research (a partnership between ourselves and Royal Holloway University) - which suggests that patients suffering a stroke should be weighed [on special beds] when they arrive in A&E to ensure the correct dosage of clot busting drugs - has attracted national media coverage including the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail. A real example of some powerful practice-based research happening here at St Peter’s that will make a real difference to patients here in Surrey and across the world!

It was also interesting to listen to feedback from two of our patients who have been part of the asthma research work undertaken by Dr Monica Nordstrom. To hear their comments on how the trials have improved their wellbeing was incredibly powerful and a real first hand testament to the benefits of clinical research. Overall a great event - well done to the R&D team and we look forward to hearing more about their work in the future.

 

Last week I wrote about some of our successes in being shortlisted for a number of awards. On Wednesday the wait was finally over for two of these at the national HSJ Awards in London. I was joined by a number of consultants, nursing staff and administrative colleagues from across the Trust for the evening as well as Board and Executive colleagues. You’ll remember we had been shortlisted for two awards; Board Leadership and Chief Executive of the Year.

Although we didn’t receive the top awards on the night, just to be shortlisted is an achievement in itself and we should all be very proud of that. We also pass on our congratulations to other colleagues in Surrey who were successful on the evening – Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Guildford & Waverley and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Groups.

It was a great night of celebration. In particular we all felt the tangible sense of pride in the NHS, and a genuine feeling of energy and enthusiasm for the work we all do across the country, despite the pressures on us. Watching the winners, it’s clear that many Trusts – particularly in the Midlands, the North and in the South West – are much further down the transformational journey. Many were describing wide partnerships or multi-agency projects – with a variety of healthcare partners working collaboratively with the voluntary sector, local authorities and other emergency services - and it made me wonder what their drivers are – less money, staffing challenges, higher demand? It wasn’t clear, but something has given them momentum to embrace integration quicker than a lot of us, which I thought was interesting and food for thought.

 

Finally, as I’m sure you know, the recent ballot of junior doctors around potential industrial action has concluded, with 98% voting in favour of strike action (from a turn-out of 76%). Our junior doctors play a hugely important role within Team ASPH; clearly there is huge strength of feeling on all sides and we know and understand that no-one takes decisions like this lightly. As you would expect, we are considering the implications of this proposed action so we can continue to keep patients and teams safe, and are working on contingency plans which many of you will be involved in. The Leadership team and I will continue to keep you updated as things progress. In the meantime, have a good weekend – and let’s hope it doesn’t get as cold as the forecast is predicting!

With very best wishes,

 

Suzanne Rankin
Chief Executive

 

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The Weekly Message

Preparing for winter

I am covering as Chief Executive for the next few days which means I get to write the weekly message. I will be using it to share some really important information about keeping people safe at home this winter and also includes some of our plans to help patients get the treatment and care they need ... read this week's message