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A word from our Chairman, Pradip Patel 

Hello and welcome to our latest members’ newsletter.

What an exceptionally busy month it has been, with our emergency departments (ED) frequently seeing over 400 patients daily in each department. That’s around 100 more patients per day, per ED, than typical days before Covid.

Our excellent teams have been working extremely hard to reduce the pressures, including working with colleagues from across the health and care sector to get our patients safely home more quickly once they are ready.

You can continue to support our teams this winter by staying well as best you can, making sure medicine cabinets are well-stocked and prescriptions ready, and if you do need extra help by choosing the most appropriate service for your needs.

It’s also been a time of reflection as we spent a wonderful afternoon this month thanking our volunteers – a group of true unsung heroes. Across the Trust, 878 selfless people give their time to support our staff and patients. You can read more about this below.

You can read about the beautiful new glass sculptures at Heatherwood Hospital – a stunning tribute to the Chapel of St Luke from the original site.

We’ve also continued to see fantastic benefits from our electronic patient record system (Epic), which went live in June. You can learn more about this in our EPR area, where you can also watch some short videos from our staff sharing their experiences.

So, as 2022 draws to a close, I want to thank you for your brilliant support and continued interest in our Trust. I’d like to encourage you to invite your friends and family to also sign up as members here: Become a Frimley Health Member, as 2023 promises to be another eventful and exciting year with much to share.

If you have any feedback or questions, please do contact our membership manager, Sarah Waldron, at

Have a wonderful festive season and I hope God grants you and your family good health, peace and happiness in the New Year.


Christmas afternoon tea 'thank you' for hundreds of volunteers

The annual thank you event for our dedicated team of volunteers was held at Ascot earlier this month with more than 200 attending a special afternoon tea. The Lord Lieutenant of Surrey was there to help celebrate the work of our wonderful volunteers, with chairman Pradip Patel and chief executive Neil Dardis expressing their gratitude in the pre-tea speeches.

We currently have 878 volunteers across Frimley Health, that equates to around 2,634 hours a week in volunteering hours – a huge support to our staff and services across the Trust. From driving buggies to assisting at mealtimes, wayfinding, delivering medicines and collecting wheelchairs – all tasks that help to ease pressure on staff and improve patient experience.

Some of the volunteers attending the event spoke about their roles at Frimley Health and pride they feel in supporting patients and staff.

Tony Edwards, 79, a retired airline worker from Farnborough has been a volunteer for 10 years and worked across the Trust’s three acute hospitals. Tony currently works on the stroke unit and his job is to “listen to patients”. He works alongside the speech therapists to help patients who have lost their voices because of a stroke.

Tony said: “I have the best job in the hospital. It’s so rewarding, and I love listening to the different life stories of the patients. I am treated like one of the staff, I really enjoy it.”

Chris Hills from Bagshot used to run a property maintenance business and has volunteered for five years. Chris is currently working with the dementia team doing arts and crafts activities with patients. “I am an artist myself in my spare time,” said Chris. “I really enjoy drawing and colouring with dementia patients. It’s amazing to see how the creativity can help to trigger memories – I love what I do.”

Vanessa Balchin, who celebrated her 80th birthday last month is a retired Trust staff member who spent 25 years working in the finance department. “I returned to Frimley Health after I lost my husband and I’ve been a volunteer for seven years,” Vanessa explains; “I love the variety of the work and I feel like I’m a genuine part of the Frimley Family.”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and would like to find out more, please contact

Glass sculptures provide chapel tribute

Stunning sculptures at our new Heatherwood Hospital stand in tribute to the Chapel of St Luke from the original site. The two-year project to repurpose the chapel’s stained-glass windows ended with an unveiling earlier this month.
Glass artist Joe Szabo designed and created the sculptures, which were co-funded by Frimley Health Charity and the Heatherwood League of
Friends. Joe worked alongside Emma Carr, Frimley Health Charity's arts and creative health manager, to create new works while preserving Heatherwood’s history.
The piece at the entrance to the new hospital was designed to be reminiscent of St Luke’s spire and building. The inside piece flows across the reflection room window, delivering powerful colour and design. The two pieces were unveiled and blessed by hospital chaplain the Rev Michael Ossei-Williams.

Changing Places at Frimley Park

Going to the toilet may not be something we think about very often, but for thousands of people with profound learning disabilities or severely limited mobility - and their carers - it can be a real worry.
This month, Frimley Park Hospital opened its very own Changing Places toilet for patients and visitors to use. It includes a hoist and a changing bench, a shower and a moveable toilet and sink. There is also a dedicated disabled parking space nearby for those wishing to use the facilities.
Two of our three main hospital sites now have Changes Places toilets - one is already in use at the new Heatherwood Hospital and a similar facility is being planned at Wexham Park.

Winter virus season

The highest ever number of flu cases has been recorded across our hospitals this month with the numbers exceeding all pre-Covid flu peaks recorded since the swine flu pandemic back in 2009. The surge reflects the national picture, with the latest NHS figures showing that ten times more people are in hospital with flu compared to this time last year. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way people can help - to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Don’t forget, you are entitled to a free flu vaccine if aged 50 years old or over, you have certain medical conditions, you're pregnant or if you're a frontline health worker who cannot get a vaccination from your employer. If you do not qualify for a free flu vaccine, the cost will be £10. To find a pharmacy near you offering flu vaccines please see here.

We have also seen a significant increase in children attending our emergency departments (ED) with parents concerned about Strep A. While any illness in children can be very concerning, for the majority these illnesses will be minor, and care can be provided at home. Anyone concerned about a child’s health can visit the Frimley Healthier Together website for advice on a range of illnesses including signs and symptoms of Strep A.



Caring for the vulnerable this Christmas

Cold weather can impact on some people’s health more than others, for example those over 65, those with a chronic or severe illness, pregnant women and children under the age of five. There is also a higher chance of catching a respiratory infection during winter. For further advice on staying well during the cold weather see the NHS website.

Surrey County Council has details on emergency support for elderly or vulnerable people at risk in winter on its website.

For those struggling to heat their homes, there is a network of council and community warm spaces open to welcome residents and the vulnerable in need of extra support this winter in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.

If you know anyone who may be vulnerable and feeling lonely on Christmas day, The Rotary Club at Surrey Heath is hosting an online drop-in session on Christmas Day between 11am-1pm. All are welcome to log in and have a chat and a virtual cuppa.

Message from new Lead Governor, Sarah Peacey

It’s a huge privilege to be Lead Governor to support Frimley Health and represent the interests of the people it serves. We have a great Council of Governors with diverse talents who bring their experience and perspectives to focus on representing your interests.
In terms of my background, I have experience working with local authorities on overview and scrutiny of social care, mental health and addiction services, and I’ve also led working groups on GP capacity and housing and homelessness strategies. This has helped to give me some understanding of the determinants of health and the importance of working in partnership to get the best outcomes for people, especially those most likely to suffer health inequality.
As chair of the Patient Experience and Involvement Group I learned that the way a patient experiences their care is not just about the kindness, competence and compassion of care and treatment; but importantly includes ease and clarity of process and communication, and patient involvement in decisions about their care. It’s this comprehensive approach that I seek to champion in the interests of everyone served by the Trust.
To support my work as a governor I participate in NHS England networks on quality and patient experience, and health economics, to broaden my understanding of the complex decisions the board has to make; and how they can affect services and people. I will try to combine that learning with local views from members and the public to pursue your interests.
We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and competent board of directors who are accountable for performance and have created an ambitious strategy for the Trust. It will be a privilege to work with the governors to support the Trust in its ambitions, with your interests at its heart.

Frimley Health's tobacco dependency project

The tobacco dependency project is a new initiative launched for all inpatient smokers to help tackle tobacco addiction. A newly created tobacco dependency team will provide a package of ward-based support, including a comprehensive assessment, education, medication and a priority referral to community stop smoking services, if required.
The team consists of a programme manager, tobacco addiction advisers and clerical support to provide a bespoke service across the Trust. The goal is to achieve a fundamental shift in how smoking is managed across all inpatient settings to encourage smokers to use the admission as an opportunity to reduce, or ideally to completely stop smoking.
The package of support will greatly increase the chance of success with the added benefit of reducing the number of patients smoking on the hospital sites. The Tobacco Addiction Advisers will also arrange for effective on-going support for smoking cessation post-discharge. This new service has highlighted the importance of the hospital site being a completely smokefree environment – and a series of measures are being undertaken to support this.


Jingle Jog 2022 - Back and bigger than ever

On Sunday 11 December, Frimley Health Charity welcomed back our annual Jingle Jog. This year saw record-breaking numbers attend the festive 5k around Frimley Lodge Park. Over 600 runners put on their festive hats and jingle bells and ran around Frimley raising money for the charity’s Golden Christmas Appeal. To date the event has raised an incredible £11,200 which will support the charity’s Christmas Appeal – raising money to support patients and staff over the festive period.


Golden Christmas Appeal

With only a week to go until Christmas, the charity team is busy organising the final gifts for staff and patients. This year the charity’s appeal is all about spreading joy and light to those we care for and those who care for us over the festive period. Volunteers have been helping the team wrap presents for patients, ensuring every patient has a gift to open on Christmas Day morning. Thank you so much to the volunteers who have helped us.

Any staff working over the festive period will be able to enjoy festive treats throughout Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated to the appeal, we couldn’t make any of this possible without your support.

If you would like to donate to the appeal, you can do so via this link.


Tell us what you think

We would love to know what you think of the monthly email, and what you would like to see in it. Please email your feedback to:

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