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What a month July has been. We kicked it off with our NHS75 birthday party, a welcome celebration of all that the NHS stands for and the incredible people who dedicate themselves to it.

After all that has happened in recent years and recognising the formidable challenges that remain, this 75th anniversary felt like a good time to reflect on why the NHS remains one of our best-loved institutions and to take a moment to celebrate with our teams. 

Our lead governor, Sarah Peacey and I probably had the best job of the day – helping to judge the bake-off competitions as part of the Big Tea celebrations. There are some very talented and imaginative bakers in our ranks, and we certainly enjoyed discovering just how good their baking was.

I was also delighted and privileged to be able to attend our long service awards at Ascot Racecourse recently, an event held over two days to recognise staff with over 20 years’ service. It is humbling to know that so many of our staff have contributed so much to serving our patients and our communities. My huge thanks to each and every one who has been such a dedicated member of our staff.

Plus, July saw the longest strike by junior doctors to date, followed soon after by two days of action by our consultants. My sincere thanks to our teams, who once again worked exceptionally hard to minimise the impact and ensure we could keep patients safe. As ever, our teams are going above and beyond for our patients. We will continue to do everything we can to support our staff, while we respect the right of individuals to take part in the action. Unfortunately, though due to the industrial action, we did have to postpone more planned appointments and procedures. I am sorry to those affected – please bear with us as we reschedule your care.

Thank you too to everyone who nominated staff and teams for this year’s Frimley Health Awards – we had over 970 entries and the winners will be announced at a special staff awards event in September.

I am also delighted to announce that another key event for September will be our Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM), which is taking place on 26 September at Royal Windsor Racecourse.

The event will open at 4.45pm with a marketplace showcasing different-themed stands and will be a great opportunity for you to talk to our staff.

The main AMM will take place between 6.30pm and 8.00pm with our CEO Neil Dardis, and many of our Executive Directors, reporting on the year and looking ahead to the future. Further details and the full schedule of stands will be in our August members’ email.

This will be our first in person event since 2019, so I am really looking forward to it.
I hope you enjoy reading more and I look forward to seeing you on 26 September.

Best wishes,

Heatherwood Hospital gains national accreditation 

Heatherwood hospital in Ascot has been successfully accredited as an elective surgical hub delivering high standards in clinical and operational practice.  

The scheme, run by NHS England’s Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, awards hubs for providing an excellent patient experience and setting new standards in day-case surgery and innovative models of care.  

There are only a handful of accredited surgical hubs across the country, and all had been established hubs for many years before they were able to meet the stringent GIRFT standards. The fact that Heatherwood has been accredited within 16 months of opening is a monumental achievement and recognition of the clinical and operational excellence achieved during that relatively short period.

Our Heatherwood team had been working on the meticulous GIRFT accreditation process for several months and was given formal notification this week that we had passed all 101 metrics required. 

The final stage in the accreditation was a site visit to Heatherwood earlier this month, with a panel of five assessors led by GIRFT lead, Professor Tim Briggs. During the visit, Tim Briggs said: “Heatherwood should be the benchmark for elective hubs across the country - we are highly impressed with the efficiency, performance and culture”.

Dr Tim Ho, medical director, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “What I'm most proud of is that the GIRFT report cited how impressed the assessors were with the professionalism and enthusiasm of our staff and how the positive culture had been a huge contributing factor to the Heatherwood's overall successful performance. This is a brilliant achievement which epitomises our Trust values and reflects the hard work and dedication of all Frimley Health staff.”

Frimley Health’s big NHS75 birthday bash

Earlier this month, the nation joined together to celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS. Staff across the Trust marked the day with celebrations including NHS75 ‘Big Tea’ events, bake off competitions, the opening of an ‘NHS75 garden’ at Wexham Park and the unveiling of new outdoor artwork at Frimley Park. 

A woman who shared her birthday with the NHS was our main guest of honour to mark NHS75. During the celebrations she visited Frimley Park to meet a new born baby and the baby’s mum who, by another coincidence, also had her birthday on the same day.

Sue, from Yateley, was one of the first ever babies born under the NHS. She joined in Frimley Health’s NHS75 celebrations and met tiny Amalie – born at 5.30am that day, exactly 75 years later – and her mum Chelsy.

Sue was delighted to have the chance to share her birthday with the NHS at Frimley Park. She said: “It’s nice to know that I’m still here and the NHS is still here after 75 years. It will be nice to celebrate our 100th birthday together in a few years too.”

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Celebrating almost 10,000 years of service

Around 380 Frimley Health staff, totalling an incredible 9,472 years of NHS service were celebrated at the recent Frimley Health long service awards.

Colleagues who work across Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire attended two special events at Ascot Racecourse to mark long-service milestones ranging from 20 to more than 45 years with Frimley Health. 

The celebratory afternoon teas were hosted by chief executive Neil Dardis – the trust’s first long service events held in person since before the pandemic in 2020. 

The longest serving staff member was local security manager Kay who started working at Wexham Park Hospital in 1978, when James Callaghan was the UK prime minister, Louise Brown had just become the first ever test-tube baby (IVF), and Boney M had the biggest selling single of the year with Rivers of Babylon. 

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Trust hits gold standard for defence support

We are incredibly proud to have achieved a Gold Award for supporting the armed forces community in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).

The Ministry of Defence programme recognises employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and align their values to the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise by the nation that the armed forced community will be treated fairly.

To win a Gold award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the armed forces. They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the armed forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the ERS.
Frimley Health employs many armed forces reservists as well as veterans and retired military personnel who have taken up full-time roles in the NHS. Veterans applying for employment at Frimley Health are guaranteed an interview if they meet the criteria for the role.

Read more 

Walk 4 Wards

As part of this year’s NHS75 celebrations, Frimley Health Charity has launched Walk 4 Wards – a brilliant new event taking place on 17 September. Join us in a beautifully picturesque and bespoke five mile walk surrounded by the stunning countryside including glorious fields, wildlife, and lakes, before being greeted upon your return with delicious refreshments at the beautiful San Remo café on the water in Black Park as part of your entry.

Who will you walk for? You may choose to walk for a ward who has helped you or a loved one in the past as a way of showing your appreciation, or perhaps walk in memory of someone you have lost to remember and celebrate their lives.

You may choose to walk the route with your friends, family, colleagues, and furry four-legged friends, as dogs are also welcome! The event is enjoyable for all ages and for those little walkers, there will also be a scavenger hunt for them to complete on their way round the route to keep them entertained and having fun.

You can sign up to Walk 4 Wards at:

Could you stand as a Trust governor? 

We’re seeking new governors to represent the interests of the Trust on Frimley Health’s Council of Governors.  

The Council of Governors holds our non-executive directors to account for the performance of the Trust Board. It represents the interests of patients, the local community and Trust members who include our staff.  

Elections will be held in September for governors in the following constituencies:  
• Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire (one seat) 
• Rest of England (one seat) 
• Surrey Heath and Runnymeade (one seat) 
• Windsor and Maidenhead (two seats) 
• Frimley Park Hospital (one staff seat) 
• Heatherwood Hospital and Community (one staff seat) 

If you would like to help shape the future of our hospitals you can find out more here 

Help us get the right information across

We are looking for members who would be interested in joining a focus group to review the quality information boards, which are displayed around our hospitals.

Our ambition is to ensure these are patient, family and carer friendly and provide information that is meaningful and captures key safety, quality and patient experience information or performance.

If you are interested, please contact