Local hospitals shortlisted for national patient safety awards
Two local hospitals helping improve safety for patients have now been shortlisted for their work in the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards.
Both Southend Hospital and Broomfield Hospital are now in the running for the national awards, with winners being announced in November. Their entries showcase how they have been making a positive difference to the lives of patients.
Clare Panniker, CEO of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which the two hospitals are a part, said: “To be recognised in these national awards is a fantastic achievement, it demonstrates that our dedicated staff and departments are striving to improve the safety of patients in our care.”
Acute kidney injury clinical nurse specialist
In the category of Patient Safety Team of the Year, the acute kidney injury clinical nurse specialist at Southend, Linda Lio, has been shortlisted for the huge impact her role has made on patients.
It is estimated that across the UK, 20% of all patients admitted to hospital have Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).
Dr Gowrie Balasubramaniam, Nephrology Consultant and Lead for MSE Renal Programme, said: “It is terrific to be recognised by the HSJ awards and we are hoping to expand this service to all the three hospitals that are part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.”
Linda added: “Acute kidney injury is a patient safety concern and potentially life-threatening, I support clinical teams to help improve a patient’s care, their outcomes and reduce harm from AKI. Every member of staff looking after our patients can make a real difference.”
End of life team
The Broomfield Hospital team of Charlotte Hoctor, Lee Ellis and Tim Blake have been nominated for the HSJ End of Life Care award for improving patients’ access to spiritual and pastoral support thanks to the clever use of an existing patient observation system to help identify patients who may wish to receive additional care.
And it is already making quite the impact, between April 2018 and March 2019, the chaplains provided spiritual care to 364 patients, an increase of 81% on the previous year.
Chaplain Tim Blake said: “I was surprised and delighted to hear that we had been nominated for an HSJ award. This piece of work has involved whole teams of people in end-of-life care, the chaplaincy and IT systems. It’s great to see the effort that so many people have made to improve end-of-life care for patients at Broomfield recognised.”
Canvey laundry company offers free services to Basildon Hospital
A Canvey laundry business has stepped in to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus by providing its services to Basildon Hospital free of charge.
Canvey Commercial Laundry provides laundry services to the hospitality sector and has worked around the clock to meet the high demand for sterile laundry for frontline NHS staff.
Eamon Malone, chief estates and facilities officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “What they have done is exceptional. Canvey Commercial Laundry has provided a service that’s in high demand when the NHS was in one of its most challenging hours.
“For over five weeks, it helped to ensure thousands of garments were suitable for our frontline staff. We couldn’t be more pleased to recognise its efforts and commitment during the pandemic.”
Following the Government’s announcement of all non-essential businesses closing at the beginning of April, the majority of the company’s customers shut overnight. Owners Karl Hopkins and Adam Aspinall decided they wanted to help Basildon Hospital during the crisis.
L - R: Founders Karl and Adam
Karl said: “We couldn’t sleep at night knowing we had machines that were doing nothing when we could be helping other people. So we contacted Basildon Hospital to see if we could be of any assistance.”
Adam added: “We were able to provide a free service and support our local NHS during this difficult time. We are proud to meet the needs of the frontline NHS heroes. Thank you to the whole team at Basildon for helping us to make our idea a reality.”
Southend Covid patient leaves critical care after over 10 weeks
A patient who has spent more than ten weeks on the Critical Care Unit at Southend Hospital has left to continue her recovery.
Teresita Eugenio, 49, from Southend, spent 74 days on a ventilator and sedated, and initially wasn’t making much progress. At one point there was a real worry that she might not survive.
The dedicated hospital staff didn’t give up, and neither did Teresita, waving her thanks to staff as she finally left the unit.
Senior Nurse Nina Hatch, one of the many members of staff who has been looking after Teresita, said: “In the past two or three weeks Teresita has turned a corner and started to make remarkable progress. To be able to deliver this news to her family has been one of the most rewarding situations for us.”
Teresita, who is originally from the Philippines, still has a long road to recovery. Before being moved to her new ward to continue her road back to health, she said: “The staff are all wonderful. They have made this all possible.”
Her good friend Lydia added to that thanks. She said: “They are all my angels, and my thanks are not enough. The family extend their huge gratitude as well.”
Breast screening begins return to normal service
As hospitals start to look at ways of restarting their normal services, it’s been announced that breast screening is set to make a return at Southend Hospital on Monday 29 June.
Although high risk patients were still being screened at the height of Covid, normal breast screening had been paused so radiographers at the hospital could support critical inpatient services. But now, normal services are beginning to slowly resume and patients are being welcomed back.
The breast screening unit, based in the Nightingale Centre, have started sending invitations and reminders again to people eligible for screening. This will start initially with invitations and reminders for people who were cancelled due to Covid, then moving to those who are overdue a scan.
Clare Rogers, Programme Manager for South Essex Breast Screening for Mid and South Essex University Foundation Trust, of which Southend Hospital is a part, said: “It’s important to remember that screening is for healthy people who have no symptoms at all. The aim of this service is to detect breast cancer at an early stage, often before any symptoms have been noted, so that treatment may therefore be simpler, more effective and gives a better chance of recovery.”
It’s estimated that such screening saves about one life from breast cancer for every 200 women who are screened, which adds up to around 1,300 lives saved from breast cancer each year in the UK.
Approximately one in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, one of those who was is Karen Scott, 59, from Billericay.
At her first screening in 2012, everything was clear, and she didn’t need to return until 2015. Karen said: “I had no symptoms or reason to think anything abnormal would show but was called back two weeks later for another mammogram and biopsy. The mammogram showed a 6cm lump.
“I had a mastectomy at Broomfield, which was a really positive experience and everyone involved was very helpful and supportive. I now have an annual mammogram and my advice to anyone unsure of going to their screening is make time for it. I did and it potentially saved my life.”
It is now hoped that mobile breast screening will see a return to Grays, Southend and Canvey Island sometime in late July.
Once screening programmes are back up and running, people should start receiving invitations again. But it may take longer than usual before you are invited.
Clare said: “It may take longer for patients to receive their invitation for breast screening due to the number of patients we need to catch up on, but if anyone is worried that they may have any breast cancer symptoms they should not wait and, contact their GP without delay.”
Statement in response to open letter from Save Southend NHS to Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
This statement is in response to the open letter received regarding Critical Care beds at Southend Hospital from Save Southend NHS.
Before responding to the individual questions raised in the letter, we want to be clear that facilities at Southend Hospital are not being downgraded; we have consistently said this to our staff, patients and communities. We are disappointed that Save Southend NHS has published this letter openly rather than engaging with us directly to seek answers to their questions when our statements on these questions have been entirely clear.
However, we cannot ignore that we are in the midst of a pandemic which, in its’ first wave, required a threefold increase in critical care capacity across all of our hospitals which was only delivered by repurposing space not normally used for this purpose and the cancellation of all routine hospital activities. This was a situation repeated across the country.
Given that COVID-19 will be a disease that will be with us for at least a year, we would not be serving our patients, communities or staff well if we continued these extraordinary measures and we therefore need to change the way we deliver services to provide care to people with COVID as well as those with other health needs. A good example of this is maintaining critical care services for major urology cancer surgery at Southend Hospital.
We are sad that this letter has undoubtedly sought to unnecessarily scare people and undermine confidence in hospital services in Southend during a national emergency.
Our responses to the questions raised within the open letter are set out below.
Please inform us how many staff will remain at Southend to run all 14 Critical Care (ITU and HDU) beds at the hospital and how many you plan to redeploy to Basildon?
We are reorganising all of our sites to ensure that COVID and non-COVID healthcare needs are addressed.
Part of this reorganisation involves catering for the sickest COVID-19 patients in one location.
This will be the MSE Specialist Critical Care Centre situated on the Basildon site.
The main reason for this decision is that there is already infrastructure (oxygen supply and appropriately configures ward space) at Basildon which will allow the patients to be cared for in one unit rather than spread across hospital sites in different locations as was the case during the first surge.
The plan involves creating a facility for 26 patients with capability to increase to 100 in the event of extreme surge.
Staffing this unit will require staff from across our three hospital sites, alongside the additional nurses and doctors we are recruiting to staff these beds. However, in the case of extreme need or an early second surge, we will need to ask our people to step forward to care for these patients again at the specialist critical care centre.
Question 2: Can you confirm that no members of Critical Care staff at Southend will be compelled to work in the new unit at Basildon if they do not agree voluntarily to the interim transfer?
The process being used to provide staff from Basildon, Southend and Broomfield Sites is a voluntary secondment process.
Questions 3 and 4:
Where do you plan to get the ambulances and suitably experienced and qualified staff needed to transfer acutely ill COVID-19 patients requiring ITU provision, across the area to the new ‘hub’ at Basildon?
How can the public have confidence that ‘treat and transfer’ for seriously-ill Covid-19 patients can be properly resourced and will be safe for patients?
We have successfully operated a treat and transfer service at weekends and bank holidays for over one and a half years. During this time patients needing interventional radiology operations, cardiology interventions and care, ear nose and throat operations as well as emergency radiotherapy procedures have benefitted from faster specialised treatment as a result of our treat and transfer service.
This service was extended during the recent COVID surge as it was necessary to scale this process up to transfer COVID patients between our sites. We successfully ran this process for three weeks using skilled doctors from our hospitals and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance to transfer a number of patients on ventilators between our hospitals when we did not have sufficient capacity. This was complemented by a regional patient transfer service that was established to move critically ill patients throughout the region. It is recognised that moving patients to Critical Care Units which had capacity, rather than creating capacity in operating theatres and associated spaces, was the correct thing to do for patient care and to provide a safe working environment for clinicians.
We have worked with East of England Ambulance Service and St John Ambulance to commission the ambulance vehicles and staff to provide this inter-hospital transfer service seven days a week so that we can continue to safely move patients between our critical care units if required.
Our treat and transfer services is operated according to a strict protocol and the process which has been reviewed by the East of England Clinical Senate, North East London Trauma Network, East of England Trauma Network, Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, local and regional Intensive Care and Emergency Care physicians amongst others.
Question 6: Can you promise the public that your proposals for the removal of staff from Critical Care at Southend are for the current pandemic only and that they will not involve any reduction or ‘downgrading’ of the current range of services at Southend Hospital?
As described above, we are absolutely not downgrading Southend ITU or HDU. None of the 14 critical care beds at Southend will be lost as a result of this change, although the numbers available may decrease by one or two beds temporarily if there is a COVID-19 surge, with staffing at the Specialist Critical Care Centre prioritised. There will also be no loss of 24/7 A&E services at any of our sites which I know has been raised by Save Southend NHS in other communications.
Our plans for the future of hospital services are clear and have been consulted upon, with more information being available at www.msehealthandcarepartnership.co.uk
Keeping connected with learning disability patients during Covid
This week (15-21 June) is Learning Disability Week and the focus this year is the importance of friendships during lockdown.
Covid-19 has been a time of continuous concern and change for all of us, but Learning Disability Team staff across hospitals at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has been reaching out to carers and people with disabilities over the phone, to have a friendly chat to keep in touch and answer any concerns.
The specialist learning disability nurses offer a range of support mechanisms and reasonable adjustments for patients with learning disabilities, including access to easy read information on medical procedures, routine tests and screenings. They’ve also introduced a Covid grab sheet, helping provide simplified vital information for supporting this group of patients during the pandemic.
Each hospital site has its own learning disability nurse: Paula Pearl is at Southend, Dave Thompson is at Basildon and Sandie Morton Nance at Broomfield.
Speaking on behalf of the three hospital sites, is Paula Pearl, the Learning Disability Liaison Nurse Specialist for Southend Hospital.
She said: “It’s been a strange time for everyone but for patients with learning disabilities sometime they or their families have needed that little bit of extra reassurance or just some normality maintained in a world where it has been anything but. That is where some of our phone calls have come in.
“During the pandemic we have made contact with some of the patients, carers, care homes, supported living environments, community learning disability services including NHS community providers and social services to offer our support and ensure they all have our contact details if needed. These phone calls and contacts were well received. We have kept in regular contact with patients, wards and carers during admissions to relay any fears and support with reasonable adjustments.”
One of those learning disability patients who has been having weekly phone contact is Robert Norton, 34, from Leigh-on-Sea.
He said: “It’s been quite a difficult situation, I’ve been stuck indoors for 12 weeks, but have been in touch with Paula, the Learning Disability nurse on a weekly basis, it’s just been nice to chat and have a general catch up really. Covid-19 has been all over the TV and radio, there has been no real escape from it, so it has been nice to speak to Paula about normal stuff.”
Prior to lockdown Robert was very active in the community, raising money for the LD team through his raffles – he’s very proud of the £254.60 he has raised so far – and had been working in a café and volunteering in a charity shop. All that suddenly stopped, so the chats and interaction he’s been having with Paula has helped compensate for that important communication void left by Covid-19 cutting off his usual outlets. Robert’s also been enjoying some of the word searches he has been sent, even if he hasn’t completed the latest one yet.
Sarah Haines, Learning Disability Lead for the Trust, said: “Although people with a learning disability have had big changes to their usual routines, we hope that the calls and a friendly, familiar voice has helped make a real difference to people.”
The hard work and commitment of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust staff hasn’t been lost on Robert. He said: “I want to say a big thank you to all of the nurses and all they are doing to help us. I know it may not be until next year now, but their continued help and support has made me more determined to raise even more money for the learning disability team.”