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December 2016

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A Message from the Chairman
Aileen McLeish Dear Member,

As the festive season approaches I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and to thank you for your continued interest in Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals.

During the winter months we inevitably see more people becoming unwell which often leads to more visits to our A&E department and other local NHS services. To get the best service for you and your family, it's worth taking time to think about the most appropriate service for you so we keep A&E for those who really need it. Rather than wait for a minor illness or symptom/s to become a crisis, it's much better to go and see your local pharmacist, GP or call 111 at the first sign of feeling unwell. Of course we are working hard to make sure our hospitals are well placed for the holiday season working closely with our health and care partners across North West Surrey.

As we look ahead to the challenges that the NHS faces more generally, we continue to work closely with other organisations to plan for the future. In particular, we are part of the Surrey Heartlands partnership, bringing together clinicians and health leaders to plan services over the next five years - more information is available at

With my very best wishes for the festive season ahead,

Aileen McLeish

Midwifery staff with the pledge
Head midwife at Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals makes pledge to care for colleagues
Jane Urben, our Divisional Chief Midwife for Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals, recently signed the Royal College of Midwives' (RCM) 'Caring for You' charter, which is a commitment to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of her team of midwives, student midwives and maternity assistants at work.

The RCM 'Caring for You' campaign is highlighting the importance of a healthy working environment for midwives and other health professionals, with heads of midwifery across the country personally signing the pledge. Jane said: "We know that our maternity colleagues work incredibly hard, often under great pressure and it's really important to recognise the strain this can put on individuals - physically, mentally and emotionally. The health and wellbeing of my team is really important to me and it makes sense that healthy, happy midwives are able to provide better care for women and their babies."

The RCM charter looks at many different aspects of improving the working life of professionals; including access to a variety of shift patterns and flexible working and promoting a positive workplace culture around working time and taking breaks. Also, encouraing a zero tolerance policy on undermining and bullying behaviours, improving access to occupational health, and nurturing a compassionate and supportive workplace that cares for its staff.

Jane adds: "It is all these things in combination that can make somewhere a good place to work, or otherwise. Often, we can't take away the day-to-day pressures upon our service and in endeavouring to provide the best possible care for women and their babies, we lose focus on the wellbeing of our staff. We have a really great team at Ashford and St. Peter's and want to build on that, further developing a culture of mutual support. One where colleagues feel able to speak up if something is worrying them and ask for help if they need it.

"It's a privilege to take the lead in signing this charter and going forward, we want to work together and closely with the RCM to find practical ways of bringing these promises to life."

Dates for your Diary
Members' Event

Our next Members' Event is on Research and Development taking place on Wednesday 8th February 2017, 2.30 - 4.30 pm, in the Postgraduate Education Centre at St Peter's Hospital.

The programme is as follows:
  1. Introduction to Clinical Research
  2. Overview of Research at ASPH
  3. Benefit of Research for Patients

With a focus on research studies in:
  • Cardiology
  • Stroke
  • Maternity
  • Surgery / Oncology

To reserve your place please call Anu Sehdev, Membership and Engagement Manager on 01932 722063.
Trust Board
  • Thursday 26 January 11 - 1.30 - Chertsey House, St Peter's Hospital
  • Thursday 30 March 11 - 1.30 - Chertsey House, St Peter's Hospital

Council of Governors
  • Wed 8 March - 6-8 pm, Education Centre, Ashford Hospital
  • Wed 14 June - 4-6 pm, Chertsey House, St Peter's Hospital
  • Wed 6 Sept - 6-8 pm, Education Centre, Ashford Hospital
  • Wed 6 Dec - 4-6 pm, Chertsey House, St Peter's Hospital

At the awards
Excellence in Teaching Awards
Our Chief Executive, Suzanne Rankin and Dr David Fluck, Medical Director joined Dr Gulam Patel, Clinical Lead for Undergraduate Medicine, and colleagues for a celebration of the delivery of high quality Undergraduate Teaching at ASPH.

Awards to three of our consultants and an administrator at ASPH for their outstanding work with undergraduate medical trainees were acknowledged in the new dedicated undergraduate education teaching room at St Peter's on Friday, November 25.

Some of our current students were invited to join the team to applaud the achievements of:
  • Dr Mark Williams, Consultant Cardiologist won a Teaching Excellence award from St George's for a consistently high level of positive feedback from successive groups of cardiology students.
  • Dr Jacob Addo, A&E Consultant, won a Teaching Excellence award from Imperial College for turning around the student experience in A&E in a short period of time with excellent feedback.
  • Dr Viran Gunasekera, Consultant Gastroenterologist, who has added a new dimension to undergraduate teaching by undertaking three research projects with his group of Imperial College students. All three research project have been accepted, including one for presentation at an international gastroenterology meeting in Switzerland.
  • Annette Stanley, Medical Student Co-ordinator, who won the Supporting the Student Experience award from Imperial College. This is the second time this award has come to the Trust in three years with the inaugural version of this award being won by her colleague, Darren Pirson, two years ago.

We take about 400 undergraduate students a year from Imperial College and St George's, each group with a varying amount of time here, with a total equivalent to about 50 whole-time students.

Suzanne Rankin said: "We have done really well over the last year with so many teaching awards. A number of the students said how involved they have felt in the team here and we at the Trust are really delighted with that."

Significant improvement in care for our patients with cancer
The results of the 2015 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey have recently been published and reveal positive developments in cancer services at our hospitals. The survey was sent to 392 patients and the results show encouraging improvements in many areas.

The national survey is designed to observe progress in cancer care and to drive quality improvements in hospitals at a local level. It takes into account a number of aspects of cancer patients' experience of care and treatment.

The overall response rate was up with the trust achieving a rate of 71%, 5% above the national average of 66% and a significant increase on the previous year's survey of 58%.

Areas highlighted as showing improvements included:
  • Patients having a named Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) to contact and 'ease of contacting CNS'
  • Improvements for patients leaving hospital and better reporting regarding home support
  • Above national average result for length of time for attending clinics and appointments
  • Significant improvement in the area of overall NHS care

Sarah Burton, Ashford and St Peter's Lead Cancer Clinician said: "We are very pleased with the survey response as it clearly shows we are listening to our patients. It is their feedback and experience that informs our efforts to improve the care and services we provide. This is a significant step in the right direction but we cannot afford to be complacent, we know there is still a lot of work to do.

"We are committed to further enhancing our cancer services and we will continue to focus on the areas where patients have we said we need to improve I would like to thank our patients for taking the time to fill out this survey and our dedicated staff for their ongoing efforts to improve our work in this area."

Improving Cancer Care - join us on February 8th and find out how you can help
On Wednesday February 8th, the Improving Cancer Care Action Group will be hosting an event at Ashford Hospital in order to gather patients' experiences of the cancer services within ASPH and across NW Surrey. Please join us for tea, cake and discussion.

The group, which comprises patients, carers, friends, family of those with cancer, along with hospital staff and board members, local GP and Macmillan Cancer representatives, works with the Trust and NW Surrey CCG in order to help improve the cancer services provided. We would like to hear from you if you are or have been a cancer patient, or you know someone with cancer.

The event will be held on Weds 8th Feb (4:30-6:30pm) at the Postgraduate Education Centre, Ashford Hospital. To RSVP or for more information, please contact:
We look forward to meeting you.

At the Winter colorectal meeting
5th Winter Colorectal meeting held at St Peter's
St Peter's Hospital played host to the 5th Winter Colorectal meeting last Friday (2/12/16). ASPH's leading consultants, eminent industry experts and medical students converged on the Trust's Post Graduate Centre (PGCE) for the day-long event to discuss advances in the field of colorectal cancer.

Pasha Nasir ASPH's Lead Colorectal Consultant and event organiser said: "What a fantastic insightful event. We were graced with leading experts in the field, who came to share their experiences, developments, good practice and successes with us.

"With significant advances in the field it is important we keep abreast of the evolution, share knowledge and continue our efforts to ensure we do our very best to tackle this disease and help patients who experience this type of cancer. A huge thank you to everyone that came and contributed to make the event the success it was."