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Welcome to your latest Members’ newsletter

It finally feels like spring is here, and along with the welcome warmth of the sunshine, so too was the news that Frimley Health has been included in the New Hospitals Programme which means that we will be getting a new Frimley Park Hospital.

Ahead of the announcement I spent some time with Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care when he visited the Frimley Park site. We are all aware of the challenges our staff face every day to minimise disruption and delay, while still delivering the best possible care they can despite the ongoing RAAC plank remedial works. It had particular impact for Lord Markham to see two of our general theatres completely out of action while they are made safe. That is a significant reduction in our operating capacity and ability to tackle the long waiting lists.

That’s why the news that we will be able to build a completely new, state-of-the-art hospital from which to treat our patients and continue the culture of innovation as part of our commitment to excellence was even more welcomed. 

So, while the worst of the winter pressures are behind us, our teams continue to face considerable challenges and we are keeping our focus on getting the right care for patients as promptly as possible. As always, we continue to concentrate efforts on the things that can make the biggest difference – minimising delays in care where we can, ensuring patients move on quickly and safely once they are ready to leave hospital, and tackling the waiting list backlog for planned care.

Our fantastic people have been working incredibly hard under very difficult circumstances, so one of our priorities has been to help them to feel supported and appreciated. We have been reminding our teams of the fantastic new services and innovation they are delivering and highlighting the difference that their efforts are making for our patients. 

We have also been sharing and celebrating many of their successes, and I hope you enjoy reading about some of them in this month’s newsletter.

We will also be bringing you regular news about our plans for the new Frimley Park Hospital over the coming weeks, months and years, and we will be offering opportunities for you to share your views, so please do keep an eye out for these opportunities and of course, share details of them with friends and loved ones who may also have  vested interest.

Thank you for you continued support and I hope you enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

Latest news...

We are delighted to report that we have been granted funding approval for a state-of-the-art new hospital Frimley Park Hospital through the Government’s New Hospital Programme. This new hospital will provide the modern and efficient environment our patients and staff deserve.

Chief Executive Neil Dardis said: “Our ambition is to provide the highest quality urgent, planned and specialised care in the most modern environment, as well as deliver first class community care.

"We will ensure that all these services are delivered from a hospital incorporating the very latest sustainability and environmental initiatives and cutting-edge digital technology. We are so excited to be leading this initiative that will transform the future of healthcare for people in and around Frimley.”

Read more about the funding approval.

Setting the standard for patient experience 

For the first time in four years we are reporting the national four-hour urgent and emergency care standard across our hospitals. This means patients who come to our hospitals for unplanned treatment, such as in an emergency or without an appointment, should be seen and treated then and either discharged, admitted to a ward or transferred to another place of care within four hours. 
The four-hour standard hasn’t been reported at Frimley Health since 2019 when we were named among 14 trusts to pilot alternative measures of performance. That pilot has now ended and our teams are working collaboratively to increase capacity in our hospitals and ensure patients receive safe and timely care in the most clinically appropriate setting.  
This includes reducing avoidable attendances in our emergency departments, bringing in the expertise of specialty teams as soon as possible, maximising flow through our hospitals and services and helping patients to go home as soon as it is safe for them to do so. And we are working with our health and care partners, including ambulance services, GPs and social care providers, to reduce avoidable hospital attendances and delays to discharges. 
We are also reminding our communities to only come to our EDs in emergencies and life-threatening situations and encouraging them to use other services such as NHS111, GP surgeries, urgent care centres and pharmacies where appropriate. Read more about the four-hour target here

TV spotlight on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

BBC Newsnight recently interviewed consultant radiologist, Dr Amrita Kumar, about our role in an exciting Artificial Intelligence trial which could speed up cancer diagnoses for patients. 
The six-month study, which started earlier this year, has seen us use AI technology to help clinicians triage and prioritise breast mammogram and chest x-ray scans.  
The AI technology is ‘trained’ to look at scans and assess whether there is any abnormality in a matter of seconds. The AI then highlights those urgent cases to enable radiologists to prioritise the most urgent cases and ensure those patients get quicker access to treatment. 

With thousands of scans to assess every week, a national shortage of radiologists and record waiting times for cancer treatments, Dr Kumar explained to BBC Newsnight how the new technology could potentially help ease workloads and quickly flag patients who are most in need of care. 
The programme is set to air on BBC Newsnight soon, a link to the programme will be sent in next month’s newsletter Read from Dr Kumar

A lot of love for our midwives and nurses

Special events were held across our hospitals earlier this month to celebrate our amazing nursing and midwifery teams for International Nurses’ Day and International Day of the Midwife.    

For International Nurses’ Day on May 12, there were homemade cakes and goodies galore on the wards and guest speakers giving presentations on a range of interesting nursing topics in our postgraduate training centres As part of the celebrations, eight representatives from our nursing team joined 2,000 other nurses from across the UK at a special service in St Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale.  
Our wonderful maternity teams marked the 21st anniversary of International Day of the Midwife on May 5, recognising the amazing work of our 400 plus midwives. There was a special seminar to celebrate the profession, a series of online events to mark the day and staff brought in cakes and nibbles to enjoy with their colleagues. 

Mum, Ramila Kirkpatrick, who gave birth to beautiful baby Rheya on the morning of International Day of the Midwife thanked her midwife, Luchia Marshall and student midwife, Alicia Amada. Ramila said: “I can't believe she was born today on International Day of the Midwife. I definitely think it's a day that should be celebrated, Luchia and Alicia were absolutely amazing."  Read more about the International Nurses Day

Who is your pick of the bunch for our new awards? 

As part of the International Nurses’ Day celebrations, we launched two new awards - DAISY and TULIP - to recognise and celebrate the phenomenal work our nursing, midwifery, nursing associates and health care assistants do.  
The DAISY awards for extraordinary nurses highlight the compassionate care that nurses provide to both patients and their families, whilst the TULIP awards are presented to healthcare support workers who go 'above and beyond' to ensure their patients receive the best standard of care. 
If you would like to nominate an exceptional nurse, midwife or healthcare support worker, please fill out the form on our dedicated website page. Closing date for our first nominations is 30 June 2023, with awards given towards the end of July.  

Get ready for the big NHS75 birthday party 

In less than six weeks’ time, the celebrations will be in full swing as we mark the NHS’s momentous 75th birthday on July 5. There are lots of exciting events and projects planned, including fairground-themed NHS Big Tea events held at Frimley Park, Heatherwood and Wexham Park hospitals to ensure visiting members of the public can join in the celebrations. There will be music, activities, raffles, tombola, ice creams and cakes, and a real celebratory atmosphere to mark this special day and commemorate all the NHS and its staff have achieved during the last 75 years. 

We are also supporting many of the national events taking place in this birthday year. From the NHS75 Park Run on July 8 / 9 to encouraging communities to host NHS Big Teas events in their home or workplace. Further information on how you can get involved

Free health checks for the over 40s

If you are aged 40-74, you are eligible for a free check-up of your overall health to tell whether you’re at risk of getting certain health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or stroke.  

This NHS Health Check is carried out every five years and is a 20-30 minute appointment to take your blood pressure, cholesterol reading and assess your diabetes risk. You’ll also be given useful advice about maintaining and improving your health.  

If you do not already have a pre-existing condition, you should receive a letter from your GP inviting you to take up the free check or you can call your GP practice to book. For more information see here.  

Ocean colour scene is a hit 

The children’s outpatients waiting area at Wexham Park Hospital has been given a magical makeover thanks to donations to Frimley Health Charity. The arts and creative health team worked with local artist Helen Brady to create an enchanting ocean-themed wall scene, alongside modern, colourful furniture and new toys to help keep children occupied while they’re waiting for appointments. 

Paediatric nurse, Ilona Albrecht, said: “The children are really enjoying the new space and love the distraction of the fish on the wall, the fun furniture and the different toys to play with. Having an area like this makes a real difference to their hospital experience so a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our children’s wards and helped to make this happen.” 

Leave a lasting legacy for our hospitals 

Choosing to leave a legacy donation is a wonderful way to make a lasting difference and support a cause you truly care about. All gifts in wills to Frimley Health Charity have a real positive impact on patients and families at our three main hospitals. 

Teresa was a local hairdresser and when she died, she left a gift in her will to cancer services expressing her gratitude. To honour her passion, the Eden Ward at Wexham Park purchased a dual cooling cap machine to help reduce hair loss for our chemotherapy patients. 

By leaving just one per cent as a gift in your will, you could really help to improve patients’ lives in our hospitals. Click to find out more or talk to our Philanthropy Team.  

Save the date for our next members’ event  

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and, in the UK alone, 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year. This important topic is the subject of our next Members’ Health Event with presenters, Miss Deborah Green and Mr Kuen Yeow Chin, both consultant plastic surgeons. The online event will take place on Tuesday 27 June from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Please register to attend and be sure to save the date in your diaries.