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Welcome to your latest Members’ newsletter,

I hope you enjoyed the recent Easter break. Managing services over the extra long weekend is often quite challenging for us, but this year we also had to contend with the national four-day strike by junior doctors.

I want to say a heartfelt thanks to all our staff who rallied together and worked hard to ensure that rotas were covered. It meant patients in our emergency services got the care they needed, and disruption to our planned services was kept to a minimum. Thank you too to everyone in the community who supported our messages to use NHS services appropriately. Like most trusts, we unfortunately had to postpone some appointments and procedures. We have been prioritising everyone affected to ensure they are re-booked as quickly as possible. I am sure you share my wish for a prompt resolution to all the industrial action currently affecting the NHS.

It was my great pleasure last week to be involved in my first online health information event since becoming Chair. It was amazing to hear the fantastic presentation from respiratory consultant Dr Gareth Roberts and specialist nurse Sally Bustin on advances in our care for COPD patients at Frimley Health. These health information events are proving popular with members and the public, and it was brilliant to see well over 100 of you join us. Look out for details of the next one soon.

We have a further three bank holiday weekends in the month ahead, including the King’s Coronation on 6 May, the day after my first Board meeting in public as Chair. Your continued support in helping to spread the message about how to access healthcare services during these long weekends is greatly appreciated.

Bryan Ingleby - Chair

Junior doctors’ strike - a huge thank you for your support 

It was deemed the most disruptive strike in NHS history, with four-days of industrial action by junior doctors starting straight after a busy four-day Easter bank holiday weekend. But thanks to the phenomenal work of our staff and local residents choosing their health care services wisely during the strike period, we were able to keep patients safe and cared for at an incredibly challenging time.

As with the previous junior doctors’ industrial action in March, our clinical staff showed amazing flexibility and teamwork to take on additional hours and adapt to different ways of working. During the four-day strike staff pulled together and worked tirelessly to protect emergency treatment, critical care, neonatal care, and trauma, and ensure the focus remained on those patients who have waited the longest for elective care and cancer surgery.

We apologise to those patients who did have appointments or procedures cancelled during this period. Our teams are now working around the clock rebooking patients whose care was delayed, so they can be seen as soon as possible.

Tell us your thoughts on the impact of the strike

We will continue to work closely with our colleagues across the ICB at Frimley Health and Care to plan and prepare for any future industrial action. Ahead of the junior doctors’ strike, our local health and care system carried out a huge amount of work to ensure the impact on patients was minimised. 

To help us with our industrial action planning, we would like to hear your thoughts on the latest strike and the impact it may have had on your experience with your local NHS between 11-15 April. If you used local healthcare services during this time or your appointment was affected, please take a moment to fill out this short survey.

Two new furry friends join Pets as Therapy team

Two new gorgeous pooches have joined our Pets as Therapy (PAT) team to bring some canine care to patients at Frimley Park and Wexham Park hospitals. With the arrival of Rudi, a Hungarian wirehaired vizsla, and Betty, a cocker spaniel, we now have four therapy dogs across our sites thanks to our incredible voluntary services team and the PAT charity. 

Therapy dogs have been scientifically proven to reduce stress, promote healing, lower blood pressure, and lift spirits. They provide a comforting source of healing touch for children and adults, allowing patients and staff alike to benefit from their visits.

Each dog-and-owner team visit the hospitals on designated days of the week, going around different wards on rotation. Any staff, patients or their loved ones can request visits from our furry friends, ensuring that as many people as possible get a cuddle and some company from the gentle, loving pooches. Read more about Yogi, Rudi, Rocket and Betty here.

Intensive care units transformed in major refurbishment programme

The final part of our ambitious intensive care expansion programme is now complete as Wexham Park Hospital opens its brand-new isolation facilities to care for critically ill patients. The £1.7 million project, took five months to complete, and has totally transformed an old open area of Wexham’s intensive therapy unit, creating additional bed spaces, a new office and an fully upgraded nurse call system.

This was the final phase of our extensive intensive care refurbishment programme which covered both our Wexham Park and Frimley Park hospitals sites. In December last year, the newly refurbished Frimley Park intensive care unit (ICU) opened to patients, increasing capacity by a third from 12 to 16 bed spaces and with two new isolation rooms to care for patients with highly infectious diseases.

The extensive £2.3 million Frimley Park project was planned around the specific needs of critical care patients, with every detail designed to provide the most calming, comfortable and caring environment for patients and visitors.

Get boosted - spring covid vaccination

Thousands of people across the local region are eligible to ‘grab a jab’ in the latest NHS covid booster programme. Launched last Monday, more than five million people nationwide will be invited for a vaccination, which includes people over 75, those aged five and over with a weakened immune system, and older adult care home residents.

NHS staff in our local area have already begun administering spring booster doses to care home residents and many people are being invited to book vaccine appointments this week to give themselves extra protection and peace of mind this summer.

People will either be sent their initial invitations through the NHS App or via text message from their GP surgery. For further information on who is eligible and how to book, please see the Frimley Health & Care website. You can also book through the NHS national booking system or call 119 for free.

The future of Frimley’s respiratory care unveiled at health information event

More than 120 people joined last week’s health information event to hear more about respiratory disease and the services we provide patients both in our hospitals and out in the  community.

Led by chief of service for medicine and respiratory consultant, Dr Gareth Roberts, and respiratory specialist nurse, Sally Bustin, the event took a fascinating look at how we’ve adapted our services to help with admission avoidance and provide the right level of care for patients in their home environment. 

Lung disease now affects one of the five people in the UK and during the past seven years, hospital admissions have risen at three times the rate of all admissions. Many people in our local communities live with chronic respiratory conditions and the event showed the different initiatives we have introduced to support them - from our six week pulmonary rehab classes to the post discharge rehabilitation programme and exciting plans for future respiratory services.

If you missed the health information event, you can find out more about the future of the Trust’s respiratory care here