Before our AMM this year we asked members to submit any questions they had, if you submitted a question that has not been answered below please email email@example.com with your question attached.
Will you be able to cope with Covid-19 and winter demands on the system?
Pressure on hospitals is usually greater in the winter and this year is no different. We have plans to expand Covid bed and ITU capacity if needed and are working with partners to continue providing the best care for all our patients.
We are still continuously monitoring infection rates within our local communities which is helping us to be better prepared or a potential surge in hospital admissions. Should this happen we have the option to be flexible with our staffing and bed spaces by maximising capacity in private sector locations. We are also maximising bed space by treating more patients as day cases to reduce overnight stays, as well providing extra pre-op planning to enable timely discharges and ensuring patients have the right support in place.
What will be the impact on non-Covid activity in the second wave?
This is difficult to quantify as it is dependent on the size of the second wave of Covid, as well as the severity of illness in those patients who come into hospital. However, it is likely there will be pressures on non-Covid services during the second wave but the Trust has plans to mitigate these as much as possible.
Do you have a date you aim to restore normal services by?
Currently we are aiming to fully restore services to pre-Covid levels by Spring 2021. This will of course be dependent on lots of different variables though, including the national picture.
What are the main challenges faced by the Trust during this pandemic?
We of course struggled with capacity constraints and recovering our elective services after they were cancelled during the first wave of Covid.
We also wanted to ensure our staff wellbeing was well maintained. We offered our staff 24/7 counselling with clear signposting to national and local support services. We created wellbeing rooms for staff to visit during the first wave and were also fortunate enough to having Project Wingman areas for staff at Frimley and Wexham Park Hospitals. As we enter the second wave we have recently invested almost £500,000 on upgrading staff rooms and rest areas across the Trust.
What are the current Covid infection rates among staff? How does this compare with other Trusts?
As of 16 November 2020 there were 64 members of staff in self-isolation and 48 staff members off with Covid-related sickness. Sickness rates are currently about average for this time of year.
Unfortunately we do not data on other Trust's sickness rates. However, we have seen examples that show us how careful we must be. Infection can spread very quickly and large numbers of staff sick or isolating can have impact on departments and services.
What is the difference between green, amber and red wards?
Green areas - No suspected cases of Covid-19
Amber areas - Patients awaiting Covid test results or have been stepped down from a red area
Read areas - Confirmed cases of Covid-19
When will the new Heatherwood Hospital be ready?
We are still on target to reach our initial completion date with building work due to finish in summer 2021. From there we will then start furnishing and fitting out the building, aiming to start transferring activity during the winter of 2021/22.
By mid-2022 we hope to be fully established within the new hospital and be ready to hand the old site over to Taylor Wimpey.
What departments will be in the new Heatherwood Hospital?
Currently our plans for the new Heatherwood Hospital are:
- Six operating theatres offering general surgery, plastic surgery and trauma and orthopaedics.
- 40 beds and a new eight-bed private patient space. 50% of these beds will be in single occupancy rooms with en-suite facilities, the rest will be situated in four-bed bays.
- Endoscopy facilities with 22 day case spaces.
- Outpatients and diagnostics, including antenatal, paediatrics and physiotherapy in addition to surgical clinics.
- Space for a GP practice and primary care hub.
What is happening to Fleet Hospital?
As you will probably be aware, we temporarily relocated Calthorpe ward beds to Hale Ward in Farnham Hospital in June to help us comply with social distancing measures. Since then we have used this opportunity to repaint the ward so that it is now dementia friendly. It is currently being used by the Frimley Park Hospital outpatients physiotherapy team, helping us to create more space at Frimley Park for ambulatory care services.
Outpatient activity has been resumed at Fleet Hospital so that we can provide care closer to our communities and away from the main acute sites. As well as this an integrated care hub has been established to provide access to community nursing, community matrons, physio, OT, specialist nursing and practitioner services and intermediate care.
Parking fees remain expensive, what options are there to reduce costs?
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust runs its own car parks and does not employ an external organisation to do so. Income from car parking charges goes back into the Trust to cover the cost of providing its car parks and the security of them 24/7. Any surplus is reinvested into patient care.
Charges are broadly in line with neighbouring Trusts, such as North Hampshire, Ashford & St Peters and Epsom & St Helier - some are a little more, some are a little less (approximately 50p).
At Frimley Park Hospital we are working with the local authorities and county council to produce plans to improve access and provide more parking as we know that this has previously caused issues for patients and visitors.
I heard the patient and staff library at Frimley Park, I hear the room has been taken over by another department?
We have a great library service where volunteers take books round to share to patients on the wards at Frimley Park. Unfortunately we've had to suspend this over Covid as we want to reduce footfall on our wards and sharing books could potentially be an infection control risk.
The office and storage space were desperately needed by our medical equipment service over this period so we have carefully removed the books to a safe local storage facility off site. If and when we are able to restore the service the books are ready to be brought back.
When was your cyber readiness last reviewed? How would you evaluate your readiness in a traffic light system?
Our cyber readiness was last reviewed on 28 February 2020.
The cyber security specialists working with us rate the our readiness at Amber which shows we have a number of good practices in place. However, we recognise there is more to do and our cyber security and digital services teams are working on an 18-month programme that will help us align with the latest requirements set out by NHS England.
We also get regular testing to check with have the right level of security setup. NHS Digital is very active in this and we report back to them very regularly on progress.
What training do the ED doctors have in breaking deaths to family?
All doctors training at Frimley Health will have 'breaking bad news' as part of their curriculum. For doctors coming into the Trust from other organisations, their records will show whether they have had this training or not. Anyone who hasn't completed this training shouldn't be breaking bad news.
In addition, all junior doctors will constantly be mentored and counselled by senior colleagues throughout their training to help in their communication with patients and their families.
Good, sensitive communication is critical and can be very difficult to get right at times so if you have any feedback, good or bad, it would be very helpful to let us know to help our learning.