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March 2018

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Staff with knitted octopus
Premature Babies are helped by 'Octopus'
Volunteer, Sue Morris and a team of collaborators have been knitting octopuses for the neonatal unit at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals to help premature babies. Sue said: "We are a group of people who crochet and knit little octopuses and jellyfish to comfort babies who decided to come into the world a little earlier than expected."

Once they are made they are checked by coordinators to make sure that they meet the very high quality standards needed for premature babies.

Jo Willard, Family Support Coordinator at St Peter's said: "We are fortunate enough to be receiving the little jelly fish and octopuses for all of our babies on the neonatal intensive care unit at St Peter's. The parent's reaction when receiving an octopus is wonderful to see. We explain to the parents how the octopus can help soothe their baby and that it gives them something else to grab on to instead of wires and tubes. To the premature baby, crocheted or knitted octopus tentacles feel like mother's umbilical cord. Both the parents and the staff at St Peter's appreciate how much hard work, time and love goes into making each octopus or jelly fish."

Octopus - and now Jellyfish as well - provide a calming influence and a real help for premature babies, and are seen as also providing comfort to parents. If you want to help this very worthwhile cause go to

Pictured above from left to right - Jo Willard, Jennifer Alvey, Sarah Worster, Karen Bradey, Tasha Katsaros and Haley Gericke

Council of Governors Elections 2018
Do you live in Elmbridge, Runnymede, Windsor and Maidenhead or the Surrey Heath area? If so, why not consider nominating yourself for the position of Governor? We have a few seats coming up for election this year and the nomination process will begin in autumn.

Further details will follow in the coming months, but if you have any queries in the meantime, please contact Anu Sehdev, Membership and Engagement Manager on 01932 722063 or email

Dates for the diary
Council of Governors meeting
Wednesday 7th March 2018, 6-8 pm in the Education Centre, Ashford Hospital - come along and see your Governors in action!

Trust Board meeting (please check the Trust website for up to date timings)
Thursday 29th March, 11.00 - 1.30 pm in the Education Centre, Ashford Hospital

If you would like to attend any of the above, please email or call Anu Sehdev, Membership and Engagement Manager:

Tel no: 01932 722063

Outside the day nursery
Congratulations to our Childcare Apprentices
First Steps day nursery at St Peter's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has just celebrated with their two apprentices, Paige Ayres and Ellie Nardooni (pictured above left and right), who have just completed their Level 2 NVQ in childcare.

Paige said: "It's going really well, Caroline Peaston, our N&B assessor, is really helpful and the girls at First Steps Nursery are very supportive. I started my apprenticeship in December 2016 and I have just completed my level 2."

Dawn Hunt, Childcare manager at the nursery said: "I am extremely proud of the N&B training programme we provide at Frist Steps and they are lovely girls."

Ellie said: "it's fun and it's a good way to get your first job. Everyone at First Steps is friendly."

Members of the urology team
Urology team launch new "virtual" service
The urology team at Ashford and St Peter's hospitals has launched a new way of working, known as virtual clinics. For many patients this will mean a quicker service and also avoiding an unnecessary trip to hospital.

Mr Sachin Agrawal, Urology Consultant and Clinical Lead for the service explains: "Many of our traditional clinic appointments are follow-ups, updating and reassuring patients with test results which are stable or checking everything is OK. This may be for conditions ranging from kidney stones to cancer follow-up. There is no real need for them to make a physical trip to hospital for this, especially if scans are normal - often, a quick phone call or letter after we have reviewed their case will be as effective."

"We see around 13,000 patients a year within the urology service and that number is growing, so we need to find smart ways of providing the same quality of service whilst keeping up with demand. Patients also tell us that coming to hospital for a simple follow-up appointment can be inconvenient - they may have to take time off work, organise for family or friends to bring them, pay to park their car etc. If we can provide the same information more quickly and easily then it's a better solution for everyone."

"Patients will still be referred to the urology service by their GP in the same way and seen in clinic for an initial consultation and assessment, undergoing any necessary scans and tests (many on the same day). And of course, if their results mean further treatment is needed we will book them a clinic appointment for a more in-depth discussion."

The virtual clinics launched in December 2017 and it is anticipated that around 3000 patients will be seen this way. The team adds: "We've tested this model over the last six months and are confident it will work well; of course we will monitor it closely and ask our patients what they think of the new service over the coming weeks and months, making changes and improvements where necessary. Overall, the new service should allow new patients and urgent follow-ups to be seen more quickly, improving the overall standard of care."

Pictured above are the team of urology consultants at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals (from left to right: Mr Sergey Tadtayev, Mr Senthy Sellaturay, Mr Salil Umranikar, Mr Sachin Agrawal, Mr Philip James, Mr Nimalan Arumainayagam, Mr Ravi Kulkarni and Mr Sarosh Janardanan).

The Mouth Care Matters team
Mouth Care Matters
Linda Edwards, Mouth Care Matters Lead at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals, together with Dentists Dr Alice Jamison and Dr Pavandeep Narwal, recently visited Sayes Court Children's Centre in Addlestone, to speak to parents about maintaining a healthy mouth for their children.

Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable. It was the most common reason for admission to hospital in children aged 5 to 9 years in 2015/16 and unfortunately, extraction of teeth in young children frequently involves a general anaesthetic.

Many of the parents the team spoke to at Sayes Court did not realise that milk has the potential to cause tooth decay and often foods considered healthy can contain high levels of hidden sugar. At the end it was clear from discussions with the parents that they will be introducing lifestyle changes to benefit their children's oral and general health; e.g. brushing teeth after consuming milk instead of before, brushing teeth twice a day instead of once a day, taking the children to see the dentist as soon as the first teeth are present and choosing more tooth friendly snacks as well as reducing the frequency of sugar in the diet.

Alex Creedon, Maxillofacial Oral Surgeon, said: "We see a large and growing number of children at the Trust for dental caries (tooth decay) - a disease process that is totally preventable. Significant numbers undergo dental extractions requiring general anaesthesia having suffered pain and swelling prior to surgery. The surgery required is upsetting to both them and their parents and has huge implications in terms of individual health and also, financial resources within the health service. On rare occasions we even see children who present with life threatening infection requiring emergency admission to hospital."

"Education of parents is really important and will hopefully lead to long term change of dietary habit with a reduction in sugar intake; linked to an improvement in children's dental and general health."

Jill Edwards, Manager at Sayes Court Children's Centre, commented: "We'd like to thank the team for taking the time to present "Mouth Care Matters" to our families. We really appreciate their time in helping to convey the importance of good oral hygiene and hope that promoting this will make some small steps to improving education on this subject."

Pictured above: A Mouth Care Matters team from Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals visiting Sayes Court Children's Centre.