A word from Clare Panniker

Front cover of your hospitals magazine spring 2022 We’re only few months into 2022 and it feels like a huge amount of work has been going on.

New building projects are taking place across our sites; from a new neonatal intensive care unit facility at Basildon Hospital, to a new children’s surgical ward at Broomfield Hospital and a new outpatients' building at Southend Hospital. Work on the Basildon Hospital entrance also continues to take shape, with the recent opening of our new restaurant.


In this issue, we are celebrating some of our inspirational women who work with us. You’ll read about the work of our Patient Advice and Liaison Service and how they can support you to answer questions about your care. I’m also proud that we have published our strategic goals, which set out our commitment to our communities and employees over the next three years.

Finally, while we are beginning to see our services return to normal as we start to look beyond COVID-19, we are still trying to do everything we can to minimise the spread of infection in our hospitals. To help us achieve this, I’d like to remind all visitors to check our website for the latest visiting rules and to please follow any requests from our staff.

Doing this is the best way to help protect our staff and services - thank you.

Clare Panniker, Chief Executive

Expand the sections below to read more or download Your Hospitals magazine 2022 - Issue 2, Vol 2[pdf] 18MB.

Pioneering technique for oesophageal cancer is changing lives

Patient and Consultant A new surgical technique to treat oesophageal cancer that was pioneered at Broomfield Hospital is continuing to change patients’ lives for the better.

Championed by Mr Venkatesh Ja yanthi, Consultant Surgeon and Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Lead, the technique involves a keyhole procedure to remove cancerous cells and join the stomach tube to the food pipe in the chest.

Mr Jayanthi said: “The vast majority of operations for this type of cancer are done with big cuts in the abdomen and chest which can be extremely painful for patients and take a long time to recover from. “This keyhole technique means patients experience significantly less pain and spend a lot less time in hospital recovering afterwards."

This keyhole technique means patients spend a lot less time in hospital recovering

Michael Cole, aged 70 from Benfleet, had his cancer removed in November 2021 by Mr Jayanthi using the minimally invasive technique. Michael said: “My recovery has been absolutely brilliant since having my cancer removed. Only six weeks after my operation I was back exercising in the gym and doing most things as normal." He added: “If it wasn’t for Mr Jayanthi I wouldn’t be here. I’ve been given my life back. I am so grateful and amazed by his skill - the NHS really is full of marvelous people.”

Meet the apprentice

Michael Kitchen, Apprentice Michael's story

Apprenticeships combine classroom-based teaching with on-the-job training and are a great option for people looking to change careers. Almost 400 apprentices (from all ages and walks of life) currently work at our Trust, covering a wide range of clinical and non-clinical areas. Originally from Ohio in the USA, 54-year-old Michael Kitchen used to maintain aircraft for the United States Air Force. After 14 years at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, he decided to change careers and now works in our Medical Equipment Management Services department at Basildon Hospital. Michael is part of a team of three specialist technicians who maintain, repair and test medical equipment – including vital signs monitors, imaging equipment and infusion devices.

Michael said: “I was 48 when I started my apprenticeship. It was painful at first, as I had to get back into the maths side of things which I hadn’t done for ages. But the team were really supportive, gave me time to study and if I had any questions they were on hand to help. “The apprenticeship has changed my perspective. I now see it’s not just doctors and nurses who make a difference, it’s also the people working behind the scenes that keep a hospital running." To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities at our hospitals, please contact mse.apprenticeships@nhs.net.

It's not just doctors and nurses who make a difference 

Extra space for patients thanks to £1.2 million building at Southend Hospital

Southend outpatients construction

A new two storey building is to be home to an expanded outpatients service at Southend Hospital, helping speed up patient care.

Fourteen modules have been craned into position to create the new building.

When the £1.2 million building opens in May, it will feature 14 consulting rooms, a waiting area and seven offices, providing extra outpatient space to that already in place at the hospital.

This means the outpatients team will be able to increase the number of patients they see who need an appointment for treatment, diagnosis, or a procedure, but don’t need to stop in hospital overnight. All of which will help reduce waiting times.

Yvonne Blucher, managing director of Southend Hospital, said: “We have a huge demand for extra outpatient space, and this new area will help meet that. As well as providing a better service to patients, they will also be getting their care in a much nicer, more welcoming area.”

Initially the space will be used for trauma and orthopaedics patients, but it will be a dedicated multi-purpose space for all outpatient specialties.

The new outpatients’ building is just one of several new build and expansion projects at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to help improve patient facilities across sites.

Together, they will allow more patients to be seen more quickly, making a huge difference to both patients and the staff delivering their care.

Spotlight on our PALS

Nadine Lipscombe, head of PALS We spoke to Nadine Lipscombewho heads up our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) about her team’s work providing impartial advice and support to patients, relatives and carers.

W ha t is PALS?

In simple terms, we are a customer service department and the first point of contact for anyone with a question about their care. We work very closely with matrons, heads of nursing, clinical leads and staff on the wards. We aren’t able to change clinical decisions about your care or get you seen quicker, but if you have a question, concern, complaint or if you want to share praise about anything to do with your experience in hospital, we can put you in touch with the right people.

When should I contact PALS?

We always recommend contacting the ward or department you’re receiving care from in the first instance, but if you’re not getting an answer or you don’t know who you need to speak to then we can help and guide you.

How will PALS deal with my enquiry?

Every question we deal with is different, but we always try to get back to you as quickly as we can. We deal with enquiries on a priority basis and will respond to most requests within five working days. For formal complaints, or anything that needs a full investigation, it can take longer – up to 40 working days for a full response – as we may need to speak to staff, review medical records and policies, for example With complaints we always recommend that people get in touch with us as soon as possible after an incident or issue has occurred. This is because the more time that passes, the harder it is for us to follow up as staff change jobs, their memories aren’t as good and we have to rely more on medical records, which may not provide the full story.

How do I contact PALS?

We have a dedicated PALS team at each of our main hospital sites. The teams are available Monday to Friday and can be reached by phone (please call or check our PALS page for the current opening times), email or in writing.

New £1 million Neonatal Unit offers fantastic facilities to parents and babies

Neo Natal

Premature and sick babies will now receive the best care possible, thanks to the opening of a state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which boasts some amazing new facilities.

The unit at Basildon Hospital includes a room, called a Rooming-in Room, which offers the opportunity for parents to experience how to look after their premature babies’ needs in the safety and security of the Neonatal Unit before they go home.

The room is fitted with a comfy bed, seats and ensuite shower room, but with all the help and support of the NICU staff just the other side of the door.

Jerusha Murdoch-Kelly, Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “Rooming-in is like a practice session for taking care of your baby on your own before you go home. It gives you a chance care for your baby with a nurse close by for help and advice. It can make the change from hospital to home much smoother for you and your baby.

“We are really proud of our new NICU, and everything has been designed with parents, baby and the family in mind. It can be such a daunting experience having a premature or sick baby, but with these new facilities, our dedicated staff and such a welcoming environment we hope this area will make it a more calming place to spend those precious first moments.”

The NICU is a bright and welcoming unit and has 19 cots, a breast feeding area, as well as a parents’ lounge where they can make hot drinks, use a microwave to prepare meals and a fridge for food storage.

Parents can also sit - or sleep - in comfort with ten specialist recliner chairs being added to the side of cots, allowing families to be close to their infant at all times. Eight of these reclining chairs were paid for by Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, who donated over £50,000 to the new unit.

One family who helped fundraise some of that money was Lauren and John Hatful, from Laindon. The neonatal unit is something is close to their hearts as the couple had twin girls Poppy and Daisy prematurely in the Basildon maternity unit in September 2020. Sadly, Poppy passed away at just 18 days old.

The couple visited the new area, and were delighted by the new facilities. Lauren said: “This is an amazing space. No one understands how important they are or what these places do for people until you go through the situation of having a baby in there.

“We remain so grateful to Neonatal staff for all they did for our family, and are proud we’ve played our part in helping benefit future families who need to use this new unit. They were there for us at the old unit, so we felt it only right we are here for them.”

Another family who has raised money to buy medical equipment for NICU are Lydia and Richard Hobden, who run Noah’s Big Charity.

The couple, from Billericay, set up their charity in 2013 after Lydia was admitted to hospital after suffering a sudden heart attack while she was 24 weeks pregnant.

Lydia was admitted to hospital had an emergency caesarean section to save her life and her son’s life.

Noah was born weighing 1 pound 15 ounces and was cared for in the old NICU at Basildon Hospital before he was transferred to Royal London Hospital where he unfortunately died.

Richard said: “Anything that can make the process of having a sick or premature baby more welcoming is a great thing and this unit will do this, as well as giving staff the space to do their fantastic work.”

Baby loss Butterfly Suite gets a makeover

Amanda Cushing, Bereavement Midwife, in the Butterfly Suite at Southend Hospital

A private space for grieving families who have experienced baby loss has been transformed at Southend Hospital, thanks to kind-hearted contractors.

The Butterfly Suite in the maternity unit has had a fresh coat of paint, minor repairs and new tiling in the kitchen and bathroom.

The welcoming room is for bereaved parents experiencing baby loss, and is designed to make it a more comfortable and tranquil space for those families that are spending precious moments with their baby.

Amanda Cushing, bereavement midwife, said: “Thanks to the generosity of these contractors, there is a fresh feeling to the room and it seems even more homely.

“Because of their kindness fundraising money we would have spent on redecorating and repairs can now go towards more nice things for the room. They have made such a difference to The Butterfly Suite, and for those families who use it.”

The contractors who carried out the makeover - donating their time, labour and materials - were Kirkman and Jourdain, based in Waltham Abbey.

Clair Grayston, fundraising manager for Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, said: “It’s such a lovely gesture and their efforts are already making a big impact on those families using the suite.”

Parents sleeping on new ward for children's surgery will help reduce stress


A brand new children’s surgical ward means that parents can stay overnight with their children, both ahead of and after their operations.

This makes it one of just a handful of paediatric surgical wards in England where this is possible.

Families have improved hospital facilities and can now sleep over, helping reduce stress and anxiety. Previously they would have needed to travel elsewhere in the country to do this.

The £375,000 Pegasus Ward - which can welcome 11 young patients - took flight with its first ever patients at Broomfield Hospital this week. 

Former offices and storerooms have been transformed into two bays of four beds, and three private side rooms that allow parents to stay overnight with their children before their planned operations and after, during recovery.

The overnight parent option is of huge benefit to those using the new facilities, which also includes children having plastic surgery for conditions such as cleft lip and palate. 

The cleft service is shared with Great Ormond Street Hospital and is one of only nine cleft centres in the UK. Operations inside the mouth can be uncomfortable and children are in hospital for two or three nights to recover from their surgery. 

Melanie Chambers, deputy director of nursing, said: “Parents being able to stay with their children will make a huge difference to our families.

“The children will be looked after by our specialist surgical team and by creating these surgical beds in Pegasus, we free up beds on Phoenix Ward where we’re looking after children who need medical care. 

“This means we’re able to see more children, quicker, and therefore help reduce waiting lists.”

The new ward also received a generous donation of £20,000 from Friends at Broomfield and an additional £5,000 from Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity. This went towards medical equipment, soft furnishings, as well as patient and staff comforts.

Meet our inspirational women

Women make up more than 75% of our hospital workforce. We spoke to some of our inspirational female colleagues about their careers and what inspires them.

Dr Elsa Desmond Dr Elsa Desmond, Foundation Doctor at Southend Hospital

Elsa succeeded in both her childhood aspirations – becoming a doctor and competing in luge at the Winter Olympic Games.

I’ve always been good at science, so medicine seemed to be the logical route for me. My dream to be an athlete started when I saw luge at the Winter Olympics in Turin. Luge isn’t something you can easily get into in the UK but I finally got to try it as a teenager and beat all the boys, which made me realise that anything is possible.

I’ve been doing it for many years now and put my name on the list for the Beijing Winter Olympics just to find out how qualification works; I wasn’t expecting to qualify this time round!

As the first athlete to represent Ireland in luge and the first woman to represent Ireland internationally, I had to balance my training with medical school which was a challenge, especially with the pandemic and with the luge federation being unfunded, but the hospital has been so fantastic giving me time off to train that in the end I was able to do both.


Cait Dunn Matron at Broomfield Hospital  Cait Dunn, Matron at Broomfield Hospital.

Cait decided to become a nurse after caring for her dad as a teenager.

I always wanted to be a nurse. My dad became unwell with cancer when I was in my late teens, so I cared for him at home. I was really inspired by how the Macmillan nurses looked after him, so I became a healthcare assistant. I went to London to complete my nursing training before joining Broomfield Hospital five years ago.

I’m a single parent with three children. Balancing family and work is really hard but luckily my mum lives nearby so she supports me. If you really love your job, you can make it work and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Becoming a matron is something I am really proud of. When I was newly qualified, my matron at the time really encouraged me. She was amazing and showed me that anything is possible. Every day I am inspired by people on the wards and the way staff have kept going through hard times.

Dr Irina Zamphir Dr Irina Zamfir Geriatric Consultant at Basildon Hospital

Irina has worked around the world to make a better life for herself and her family.

I began my career 23 years ago, working as a nurse in Romania and the Middle East before moving to the UK, where my husband and I worked together in a care home. After having our daughter, we decided that we wanted more for ourselves and I moved back to Romania to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a doctor while my husband completed his law degree in the UK. After getting my medical degree I started my career as an NHS doctor in 2008. It was a long and challenging journey, but to me it was worth it.

Balancing career and family

Becoming a consultant was one of the proudest moments of my life and I’m so happy to share my achievement with my beautiful 18-year-old daughter and my husband of 21 years. Over the years I have learned to balance my career and family life whilst still enjoying both. I love working with patients, doing the rounds, and listening to their life experiences. I find for a treatment to be effective you have to earn your patients' trust. It is important to empower people by informing and educating them about their illness whilst respecting their values and beliefs.

Michelle Ezeh Integrated Therapy Lead for Frailty at Basildon Hospital Michelle Ezeh Integrated Therapy Lead for Frailty at Basildon Hospital

Michelle Ezeh balances work with being a mother of two and studying for a Master's degree.

Balancing work with being a mother is not easy! You need to be really organised - having a colour coded diary really helps! Good communication is important too. To me, empowerment is being able to be myself and be seen as an equal. For women to be empowered there needs to an absence of discrimination, so women can develop in their education and work, while also creating opportunities for others to follow.

What motivates me is that people are going to turn up regardless of a difficult day. My mindset is remembering that every situation and struggle is temporary and I’m not just doing it for me, but for my colleagues and family. My inspiration has to be my mum who moved here from Nigeria and raised four children alongside a successful nursing career. She’s retired now, but still has a passion for her profession. When I struggle with life’s realities, I remember that if she can do it then so can I.

Empowerment means being able to be myself and be seen as equal

Learn about our new strategy to improve your care

Our 3-year goals

As part of our commitment to the communities we serve across our region, and our staff, we recently published a new plan that outlines our priorities over the next three years.

This plan was developed in close consultation with our staff, Council of Governors and local partners; setting out the broad goals that will guide our decisions. To achieve these goals we’ve described six key objectives for the first year, which recognise our responsibilities to the national NHS agenda, as well as the specific needs of our population.

Equitable access

Driving equity as our priority, including in specialist services, taking advantage of digital.

High quality local services

Build local services that are high quality and integrated.

Opportunities for our staff

Invest in becoming an employer where everyone has an opportunity to grow, innovate and improve.

These objectives show how we will make our goals a reality, and form our promise to you, the communities we serve and our staff. This is how you will know we are making progress together, and how you can hold us to account for staying focused on our goals.

You can find more information about our three-year plan and our strategic objective on our about us page.


Your Council of Governors

Governors planting a tree Our Council of Governors provides a link between our 35,000 members and the wider community, while also advising the Board of Directors on the strategic direction of the organisation. Made up of a mixture of publicly elected, staff and appointed governors, they each bring a diverse range of views and experience that help ensure we deliver excellent care. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, our governors have been able to take part in events again. Public governor Susan Sullivan attended a tree planting event organised by the Chelmsford City Council Parks department to pay tribute to those affected by COVID-19. In April, the governors will be attending a listening event with the Trust’s Non-Executive Directors to discuss key focus areas.


Becoming a member of the Trust

Anyone aged 12 and over can become a member of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. For more information, please visit www.mse.nhs.uk/membership-and-governors.


Andrew Porter, Governor Meet your governors: Andrew Porter 

Andrew Porter is one of our public governors for Braintree. His background is in scientific instrument making, training and logistics. He is married with two children and two grandchildren.

What do you do as a Governor?

I am involved in two working groups, on membership and patient quality, but I also sit as an observer on the People and Organisational Development Committee, which works to support the wellbeing of hospital staff.

What’s the most important part of your job?

Listening to what is going on at the Trust so we can make sure it is in the interest of local people.

What would you say to someone considering becoming a governor?

Don’t think you can change the world, but if you don’t try then nothing will ever change. You will have access to a diverse yet like-minded group who have the energy and passion to make things better.

Anything else?

I hope that in the coming months we can interact with each other more normally and work together to help the Trust take care of its patients.

Dates for your diary

Board of Directors and Council of Governors meetings are held in public and are open to all.

If you’d like to attend, please contact mse.members@nhs.net.

Board of Directors 12 May 2022 and 14 July 2022

Council of Governors 4 May 2022 and 20 July 2022

Meet our Value Awards winners

This year we introduced a new monthly staff awards scheme recognising our colleagues who have best showcased our Trust values of being excellent, compassionate and respectful. 

Winners are recognised by our Trust board with a certificate and letter from our Chief Executive.

Gary Pearce and Karen Cook Excellent

Karen Cook and Gary Pearce

Karen and Gary from the Burns team at Broomfield Hospital were nominated by Claire Dixon, Deputy Director of Operations, for “working tirelessly to deliver on our commitment to reduce the number of patients waiting for complex plastic surgery procedures, despite significant challenges and pressures".


Diane Line

Diane Line and executive team Patient Pathway Coordinator Diane works with skin cancer patients at Basildon Hospital. She was nominated by her colleague Mark Broad, who said: "Diane treats all her patients as family. She has always been their best advocate. When calling patients, she will always spend a few extra minutes chatting to those who are clearly lonely and need someone to talk to and considers the patient's needs first and foremost."



Elaine Spall

Elaine Spall holding her certificate Elaine Spall, a Medical Education Administrator at Southend Hospital, was recognised for her work on the clinical observer programme which gives doctors trained overseas work shadowing opportunities in the NHS. Elaine’s manager, Katie Palmer, said Elaine “anticipates their needs and does her utmost to ensure that the experience is a positive one that helps establish our Trust as an employer of choice and a stepping-stone to careers in the wider NHS".

Our LGBTQ+ works gets national recognition

Our LGBTQ+ works gets national recognition

We have won a national award from one of the world’s largest LGBTQ+ charities for our work supporting lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people in the workplace.

We were given the award by Stonewall as part of its Bring Yourself to Work campaign, which highlights the importance of inclusive work environments.

The award follows a huge amount of work by the staff-led LGBTQ+ network along with our equality, diversity and inclusion team to put in place a range of support for LGBTQ+ staff and patients. This support includes rolling out new inclusive policies and training for staff, introducing pronouns in email signatures, holding Pride picnic events and advocating for patients and staff who are LGBTQ+.

Lauren Shillito, Improvement and Change Management Specialist and a member of the LGBTQ+ network group, said: “We are thrilled to have been given this award from Stonewall. It shows, that we have been recognised for our efforts to become an LGBTQ+ employer of choice.”

Rob Brunger, Head of Inclusion and Engagement, added: “This award reflects the importance we place on equality, respect and inclusivity in all aspects of life at the Trust.”

Reimaging our outpatients services

We are modernising how we deliver healthcare to our patients, bringing in new initiatives and digital solutions that will help us to provide the same care in different ways. 

Working with partners across our health and care system, Outpatients Reimagined is a programme that will transform our outpatient services, creating updated ways to deliver the best possible care to our residents suited to their individual needs and preferences. Our new outpatients' programme will mean only patients who need to be seen in hospital will be, helping us to reduce waiting lists. Transforming care in this way will also mean less unnecessary travel for patients, reducing carbon footprints. Delivering better care Crucially, our staff will be supported to provide highquality care to our patients, at the right time and in the right place.

So what's changing?

1- Offering telephone or video consultations.

2- Empowering patients to book follow-up hospital appointments and take control of their own care.

3- Using a digital patient management system to prevent unnecessary appointments.

4- Helping clinicians to avoid referring patients to hospital when their needs can be met elsewhere, including in the comfort of their own homes (eg through virtual wards).

New community diagnostic centres

New mobile endoscopy unit in Southend Patients will benefit from earlier diagnostic tests thanks to new community diagnostic centres due to open across mid and south Essex over the next three years.

The roll-out of the new centres will involve a collaboration across primary, secondary and community care and will help us to spot problems sooner when they’re easier to treat.

The new one-stop-shops for checks, scans and tests are part of a nationally-funded programme to increase diagnostic capacity in the heart of local communities. The services will be more efficient and will help us to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other serious conditions.

GPs will be able to refer patients to a centre so they can access life-saving checks closer to home and avoid a trip to hospital. They will be more accessible and convenient for patients, with tests less likely to be cancelled.

Working with our partners

Close partnership working across our Integrated Care System over the coming months will help us to identify the right location for each centre. This is an exciting programme of work that builds upon the extra diagnostic capacity that health and care partners across our region have been establishing in recent years.

Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity

Buddy, our charity mascot, with Adventure Island Director James Miller and their mascot, Snappy With events in full swing and our volunteers back on wards, things continue to look up and the growth of our community’s spirit and activity is really encouraging. 

We have seen a number of generous donations which have benefitted patients and staff across our hospitals.

Fundraising highlights

The Radiology department at Basildon Hospital received almost £6,000 from the League of Friends - funding which allowed the purchase of an AccuVein device, which helps clinicians to locate patients' veins.

A £7,500 donation from Friends at Broomfield (together with £7,000 of charitable funding) paid for a complete refurbishment of the rest area for blood sciences staff at Broomfield Hospital.

In Southend, the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation recently completed a five year appeal, which raised £360,000. This money has been used to fund 20 separate projects at Southend Hospital, including equipping a new high dependency unit, £30,000 funding towards a child friendly MRI suite, and speech rehabilitation devices.

In February, Southend Hospital Healthcare Assistant Billy Ray Mansell and his four-year-old son Noah, completed the final steps of their NHS 1,000- mile challenge, raising more than £1,500 for the COVID-19 fund and the hospital’s discharge unit.

Star fundraiser: Stockvale Group

Our longstanding supporters from Sealife Adventure and Adventure Island continue to overwhelm us with their generosity and energy.

This year their staff have donated almost £2,500 to Southend Hospital from various activities.

Sealife Adventure’s Christmas Grotto raised an impressive £1,430, and just a few weeks later, collection tins around Adventure Island during the February half term brought in another £280 of donations.

The team also held their first charity football match, which raised £745.50 for our charity through ticket sales, on the night donations and a raffle.

Upcoming events

Saturday 14 May: Tackle the Tower abseil, Southend Hospital

Sunday 15 May: Great Pier Walk, Southend Pier

Friday 15 June: Butterfly Ball, Orsett Hall

Saturday 2 July: Moonlight Colourthon, Chalkwell Park

Tuesday 5 July: Big Tea and Rainbows for Heroes