A word from Hannah Coffey
I am delighted to have stepped into the role of Acting Chief Executive at such an exciting and important time for our organisation, and I know you’ll join me in thanking Clare Panniker for everything she has done for the Trust as she takes up her new role as East of England Regional Director with NHS England and NHS Improvement.
As we move into the summer months, work continues to gather pace across our organisation and now is the right time to focus on making real and sustainable changes.
As we look to restore our services, we need to define ourselves as an organisation, and put in place the building blocks that will allow us to be the very best we can be for our staff and our patients.
Our new programme, Foundations for the Future, clearly sets out our areas of focus for the coming months. We will be concentrating our efforts on areas such as recruitment, emergency and cancer care, where we know we can bring about improvements that will make a real difference to our patients.
There’s so much amazing work going on across our hospitals and I’m keen to get out and about and meet you all. If you’d like me to visit your department, please do get in touch.
This issue, we mark the 90th anniversary of the opening of Southend Hospital - from its earliest beginnings before the National Health Service to how it has grown to become one of the largest hospitals in our region. You’ll also read about the work of our Palliative and End of Life nursing team who look after our sickest patients, and you’ll get an insight into the work of midwives at one of our busy maternity departments.
You can also read an update on some of our programmes to help young people get work experience and develop careers in the NHS, as well as the usual round-up of news and events.
Hannah Coffey, Acting Chief Executive Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
Expand the sections below to read more or download Summer 2022 [pdf] 3MB.
Celebrating the Queens Platinum Jubilee
Colleagues across our hospitals celebrated in style for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Wards were draped in the Union Jack and staff who were working over the holiday weekend got to enjoy cream teas, thanks to our hospitals' charity.
Patients on our children’s wards also joined in the fun with a crown decorating competition and the chance to win prizes. Our thanks go to the charity for supporting these activities.
As a more permanent reminder of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne, a special commemorative tree-planting ceremony took place at each main hospital site in Basildon, Southend and Broomfield.
The tree planting was part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, which asks members of the public and companies to plant a tree for the Jubilee.
Kickstarting careers in the NHS
As part of our goal to be an employer of choice and give back to the communities we serve, we have been working with our partners on two projects aimed at helping young people to start careers in the NHS.
After a successful pilot at Basildon Hospital, our supported internship programme is set to expand to Southend and Broomfield hospitals this September. The programme, a partnership between our Trust and South Essex College, provides placement opportunities for students with learning disabilities and autism, helping them get real-life work experience and learn the skills they need for independent living. Ruby Shulver, who is supporting healthcare assistants (HCA) on Lionel Cosin ward at Basildon Hospital, said: “I want to have a career in healthcare, and the HCAs on the ward have been really helpful in teaching us. If you like helping others, then this is for you.” Emma Childs, the unit manager for Lionel Cosin, said: “The ward is a busy environment and there can be a lot to pick up. The interns have settled in well and got on with their duties. They have so much to offer and have been keen and enthusiastic, so I say well done to them.”
If you like helping others, then this is for you
Kickstart offers six-month training placements at our hospitals to young people aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit. Chelsea Denny, 20 and from Chelmsford, is helping with administration in the Haematology department at Broomfield Hospital.
She said: “As well as my role in Haematology, I’ve been supporting the bereavement office which will give me the skills to work in other departments. The programme is flexible, which means I can look after my young daughter.” Others who have completed the programme have since gone on to secure permanent jobs. Azaria Mead, 20 and from Southend, now works in the strategy unit. She said: “I thought the NHS was only about giving care, I didn’t know about all of the admin support and the technical side of it. The training I got on Kickstart has really improved my skills and given me the confidence to apply for my next job.”
Emma Chaplin, Lead Cancer Nurse at Broomfield Hospital, said: “We’re really happy to welcome the Kickstarters. They have shown that they are keen to learn and support their colleagues. Admin staff are often the unsung heroes of our workforce, and it shows just how many roles there are across our hospitals in both clinical and non-clinical areas.”
Spotlight on the Palliative and End of Life Care team
We spoke with Katy Low, our Head of Nursing for Palliative and End of Life Care. Katy’s specialist nursing teams work across our main hospital sites to improve the quality of life for adult patients with life-limiting illnesses.
What does your team do?
We offer physical, emotional and practical support to patients with a terminal illness, making sure that they have the best possible experience in hospital during their last weeks and days of life.
We do that by supporting doctors and nurses on the wards with education and training, so that they can manage a patient’s symptoms and also recognise when their needs change.
By doing this, wards are able to provide a consistent level of service, which allows us be on-hand to help patients with complex or urgent care needs. For patients who are end of life, we will help them to make an advance care plan and work with our colleagues in other departments to ensure their wishes are met. This could be something simple, like helping them to make keepsakes for their family, all the way through to contacting hospices to make sure that a bed is available and that any documentation that needs to travel with them is kept up-to-date. For patients who want to spend their last days at home, we will make sure that they have all the medications and support they need.
What sort of training do you need to work in palliative care?
We have a diverse nursing team. Many come from acute care backgrounds including cancer and oncology care. Our nurses will usually have a post degree qualification such as nurse-prescribing. They'll also have advanced communication skills and have completed psychological training to help them refer patients to sources of mental and emotional support. As nurse educators, some of the team also have teaching qualifications, which comes in handy when training colleagues.
What would surprise people most about what you do?
A lot of people think that if the palliative care nurses are coming in, then “that’s it, I’m dead”, but actually we send a lot of people home. By controlling a patient’s symptoms we help them to feel better, which means they can go home to a better quality of life on their own terms.
What's also surprising is the variety of things we get involved in. We’ve held weddings and other significant celebrations on the wards, working closely with the chaplaincy and bereavement teams so that our patients get to enjoy these special events while they are in hospital.
Filipino nurses celebrate 20 years at Basildon Hospital
A group of overseas nurses have celebrated their 20th anniversary working at Basildon Hospital.
In 2002, 90 nurses from the Philippines travelled to Basildon to start exciting new careers in the NHS. Some have since gone into management, and others into the clinical side of nursing; all thriving in a range of different roles and having a huge impact on patient care.
One of those original 90 was Niel F. Pelaez, who still works at Basildon hospital as a Nurse Practitioner on the Surgical Ambulatory Care unit. Niel nowcalls Basildon his home and has nothing but positive things to say.
He said: “We are very thankful for this life-changing opportunity - not only for ourselves but also for our families. Nursing is a dynamic and evolving profession - we never stop learning. It has really allowed us to have a better life.”
There are more than 20 of the original intake of Filipino nurses still working at the Trust. Many have now come full circle and are mentoring new groups of overseas nurses.
Dawn Patience, Director of Nursing, said: “In 2002 I was a ward manager and supported these nurses in their programmes. They have a fabulous, supportive community, and I am proud to say they are a dedicated and essential part of our nursing community. Here's to the next 20 years."
Broomfield Resuscitation team scoops Parliamentary Award
A team from Broomfield Hospital who helped the sickest hospital patients by training colleagues in resuscitation and basic life support skills, have been given a prestigious NHS Parliamentary Award.
The Resuscitation team, also known as the Trigger Response team, won the award for Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care for the East of England.
The team developed an innovative programme, which included simulating resuscitation scenarios and meant that staff could still be trained during COVID-19.
They also supported the safe transfer of COVID-19 patients between intensive care units during the pandemic, making sure patients could be admitted during periods of high demand.
Ian Edwards, Matron for resuscitation training, said: “I am so proud of my team for receiving the regional award and am so grateful the trigger response team has been recognised for all their dedication and hard work.”
The NHS Parliamentary Awards are awarded following nominations by local MPs, with the Trigger Response team being put forward by John Whittingdale OBE, MP for Maldon.
Kelly McGovern, Director of Nursing, said: “This is a wonderful achievement. The trigger response team have played a vital role that ensures our staff know how to provide the best possible care to patients at our hospital, as well as educating the local community on basic life support.”
What we're doing to get you seen sooner
Are you waiting for a consultation, treatment or operation at our Trust?
We are committed to addressing the backlog in routine planned care that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we know that there are still many people in our communities who continue to wait a very long time for treatment - far longer than we would like.
As an organisation we are making significant progress in ensuring that patients who have waited the longest for treatment are being seen and treated in line with (and sometimes exceeding) national recovery guidelines. You can find the latest waiting times for our services by visiting My Planned Care.
Here's a few of the things we're going to get you seen sooner:
- Offering more surgical capacity across our hospital sites and running additional clinics in the evenings and on weekends.
- Improving our booking processes to address patients' needs in a single appointment, reducing the need to come back multiple times.
- Improving how we manage our resources so that more clinicians, including surgeons, are working across our hospital sites.
- Working with our partners in the independent sector to make use of their capacity.
- Using patient-initiated follow-up to empower patients to manage their own care and attend clinic only if their symptoms or circumstances change.
- Building new facilities and bringing in new equipment to improve capacity – including a £1.2 million outpatients’ building in Southend.
- Investing in digital technologies to further improve our processes and help our patients get the right care more quickly.
First of its kind operation speeds up patient recovery
A pioneering operation, performed in Essex for the first time, has helped a patient return home in 24 hours speeding her recovery back to normal life.
Siobhan Kelly, 30, from Hornchurch, was suffering from a swelling of the thyroid gland which caused a lump in the front of her neck.
Surgery to correct this would normally involve opening the chest to remove the gland but Dr Tariq Minhas, consultant thoracic surgeon at the CTC, used a method to remove the gland through three five-millimetre incisions in the chest, which are then glued shut .
The new technique, performed at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) at Basildon Hospital, meant Siobhan could return home in just one day, instead of spending five days in hospital.
The procedure also speeded-up her recovery rate by reducing it from twelve weeks at home to just three, helping her to return to work and embracing family life sooner.
Siobhan said: “Before, I couldn’t lay down on my back, I felt like I had to rest all the time and I had no energy.
“It felt like such a relief when I had the surgery and since then I have more energy and I feel like I can breathe again - I’ve even joined a gym now.”
Dr Minhas said: “This was once a complicated procedure but, thanks to my technique, the patient felt much better and her hospital stay was much shorter. I’m really pleased with the results.”
Triumphant return of Tackle the Tower abseil challenge raises thousands
Brave souls are hoping to have raised £25,000 for hospital wards and units by abseiling 154 feet down the tower block at Southend Hospital.
A mixture of 70 staff, former patients and friends and relatives of patients descended the tower block using ropes.
They were all raising money for everything from Southend A&E, Broomfield Hospital’s colposcopy unit and Basildon Hospital’s breast unit.
It is the first time the popular event – organised by Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity - has been held since 2019, due to Covid, and it is hoped it will continue to reach new heights.
Elise Fleetwood, events manager for the charity, said: “This is the magnificent seventh time we have held this event, with the previous Tackle the Towers raising an impressive £143,000. That money has made a huge difference to patient care and staff in the areas that have benefitted over that time.
“And this year has been no different, we are so grateful to everyone taking part and that people continue to support the Trust and the great work we do. It has been so great to see people in person again, which I think has only made this year’s event that more special and emotional.”
One of those taking part was Anita Barker, from Great Wakering, who abseiled for the Radiology and the cancer treatment fund at Southend Hospital.
She said: “This was a huge challenge for me as I have a fear of heights; despite this, I wanted to do something to make a difference. My brother-in-law, Philip, was treated for cancer at Southend and sadly passed away in March 2020. My brother, Gary was also cared for during his battle with cancer, which he sadly lost in November 2020.
“My abseil was for Gary and Philip; what I conquered was small in comparison to what they went through. They’re heroes in my eyes and this is for them.”
Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, said: “It was brilliant to be able to abseil down the hospital tower! As I’m scared of heights, this was quite a challenge, and I was extremely nervous before hand. I am very pleased that I followed the advice of my colleagues not to look down!
“Of course, I was doing this abseil for a cause that I feel very passionate about – prostate cancer, which my father died of this 18 months ago. I am delighted to have raised over £2,000 from more than 50 supporters for the brilliant Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity, and I want to thank everyone who has been in touch to wish me luck with this rather unconventional way to spend a Saturday morning!”
Roz Blackboro, director of nursing, who also took part in the challenge said: “It’s been an amazing day and I really enjoyed completing my first abseil challenge. It was so well organised and great to just see so many people having fun helping raise money for areas of the Trust close to their hearts.
“I’ve been raising money for our chemotherapy units, which have taken care of my family over the years. Thank you to our charity team for organising another great event.”
The event was sponsored by construction firm ryanandwalsh, their support helps mean that every penny raised by abseilers will benefit the Trust.
New CT scanner will make a big difference to cancer care
Cancer patients at Southend Hospital are amongst the first in the country to benefit from a new state-of-the-art scanner.
The machine, just the third to be in use in the UK and the first in Essex, means that radiotherapy patients will get lower x-ray doses, whilst receiving better quality images. It’s first patient was Fatma Sahan, from Benfleet.
Tichatyeyi Mushinga, team lead for radiotherapy, said: "Our new CT scanner gives Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust the very latest in cutting-edge technology, providing excellent image quality at the lowest possible radiation dose to the patient, meaning it is safer for them.
"We are so excited to be able to offer this new machine to our patients. Having better images means patient treatment plans are much quicker to plan and it will be easier to see the difference between soft tissue. All of which will help us enhance our patient care."
Another advantage of the new scanner is that it will give much improved scans for patients who have either a prosthesis or hip replacement.
Helping put patients at ease whilst they have their scans are some calming sky ceiling lights, which show the tops of trees stretching into blue sky.
This new CT scanner replaces the old machine which had been used by the hospital for the last 13 years.
Southend Hospital at 90
This year, Southend Hospital celebrates its 90th anniversary.
To mark this historic milestone, we’ve opened our archives to look back at how our Trust’s oldest main hospital site grew from a small local hospital to a key part of one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country.
A new hospital for Southend
Southend’s first hospital, Southend Victoria Hospital, opened in 1888 at a cost of £350 (approximately equivalent to £50,000 in today’s money) and with just eight beds and two cots. By 1929 this had grown to 96 beds and 16 cots.
It quickly became clear that the hospital couldn’t keep pace with the town’s rapidly growing population and so a committee was formed to find a site for a new hospital large enough to meet the town’s future needs.
With £121,000 (£8.2m in today’s money) raised by the public, Lord Iveagh - a local businessman and former Southend MP who championed the plan - personally contributed another £50,000 out of his own pocket.
Southend General Hospital opened to huge fanfare on 26 July 1932. Four thousand local people crowded onto the grounds to see Lord Iveagh formally open the doors to the Prittlewell building by pushing a “revolutionary” electric button.
The hospital at war
During the Second World War, plans to expand Southend Hospital had to be abandoned. As a wartime emergency hospital, Southend Hospital saw the number of beds increase from 305 to 408 to help cope with the expected victims of Hitler’s blitzkrieg.
Extra staff were brought in from London hospitals and temporarily put up in nearby homes. Students, hospital staff and volunteers took on the mammoth task of fortifying the hospital with sandbags and blackouts.
Due to wartime rationing, four acres of the hospital grounds were used to grow fruit and vegetables to provide additional food for staff and patients.
Southend Hospital at 90 - Key moments in time
The post-war years
The 1960s and '70s saw a major expansion at the hospital with the construction of a new accident and emergency department and intensive care unit. The new wing was formally opened by The Princess Royal in 1971. The 1980s saw a new CT scanner unit and eye laser facility being added to the hospital’s list of services.
1929: Contract is signed for a new hospital at a cost of £121,185.
1932: Southend Hospital opens to the public.
1939 - 1945: Wartime rationing - crops grown on hospital grounds.
1948: Southend Hospital handed over to the National Health Service.
1971: Tower block extension opened by HRH Princess Anne.
1989: New CT scanner unit opens.
1991: Southend Hospital becomes a self-governing NHS Trust.
1997: Southend Hospital awarded Cancer Centre status.
2003: Women's breast unit opens - the Nightingale Centre.
2006: £4.75m radiotherapy centre opens.
2010: £1.1m expansion of the Education Centre.
2020: Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals merge to form a single NHS Trust.
The 21st Century
More recently, an expanded A&E department opened in 2001, along with a new four bed high-dependency unit on Kitty Hubbard Ward in 2003 and a £4.75m centre for clinical oncology in 2006.
In 2020, Southend Hospital along with Basildon and Broomfield Hospitals joined to form Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country, serving a population of 1.2 million people.
Your Council of Governors
Governors have been ensuring that the Trust remains focussed on a range of issues including patient letters, the outcome of the staff survey, staff recruitment and retention, plus the progress in tackling the surgery backlog. We also attended a face to face listening event where we were able to give feedback to the Trust Chair from our constituents. There is now an action plan to ensure better engagement with Non-Executive Directors.
A team of three governors, Caroline Beasley-Murray, Ron Capes and Les Catley, recently took part in a Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE) at Broomfield Hospital. PLACE assessments involve local people going into hospitals to look at how the environment supports the provision of care – looking at things such as privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness, building maintenance, and whether the environment supports the care of those with dementia and disabilities.
As part of their visit, the team (pictured below) were invited up to the helicopter landing pad to inspect the Essex Air Ambulance that had arrived on a routine visit. Looking ahead, we are looking forward to undertaking ‘Board to Ward’ walks in the coming months. These will give governors who were elected during the pandemic the chance to see how the Trust works first-hand.
Finally, congratulations to Governor Tim Gocher, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours List, and to Meena Mitra, Trust Governor for Thurrock, who completed the Tackle the Tower charity abseil.
Annual Members' Meeting
This year’s Annual Members’ Meeting will take place in person at Southend Hospital’s Education Centre on Tuesday 20 September.
The event kicks off at 3.30pm, with a showcase of the work of the Trust and its partners in the integrated care system.
From 5pm, the event will move to the lecture theatre with a series of presentations from the Trust executive team reviewing the Trust’s performance over the last year and sharing exciting plans for next year.
Members and residents in the Mid and South Essex area can attend by emailing email@example.com. For more information visit our Annual Members meeting page.
A day with our midwifery team
As part of International Day of the Midwife, we spent a day with the midwifery team at Broomfield Hospital to find out what a typical day looks like on one of our maternity units.
At 8am, the shift changes and the team have their morning huddle where new and expectant mums are assigned to each of the midwives.
After the meeting Nicola, one of our maternity care assistants, checks on baby Jemimah.
Emma switches on and tests the examination platform.
Meanwhile, midwife Rebecca prepares the birthing pool for one of her ladies.
There is always training ongoing for all members of the team so they can provide the best possible service. Today's training session is about responding to obstetric emergencies.
Mid-morning, baby Luna is taken to the post-natal ward for her newborn hearing check. This is done in the first few weeks after birth. Emma, our newborn hearing screener, carries out the test.
Throughout the day, patient notes are kept up to date and the team keep in regular contact with one another.
Using a doll, midwife Ellie gives breast-feeding training to one of our student midwives.
Midwife Jennifer checks on baby Jemimah in the post-natal ward. Jennifer has time for a quick cuddle and a chat with Jemimah’s parents to see if there's anything they need.
Each of our hospitals has a dedicated bereavement suite; at Broomfield it is called the Blossom suite. Tabitha, our Specialist Bereavement Midwife, puts together a memory box for a bereaved family.
Baby River was born earlier this morning weighing an impressive 10lb 10oz. Midwife Anna carried out her newborn and infant physical exam. Midwives need to have a special qualification to carry out this assessment. River's mouth and gums are thoroughly checked, as is her heartbeat and hand reflexes.
Finally, we caught up with new mum Victoria who gave birth to baby Jackson just a few hours before. She spoke positively of her experience with her midwife, Becca, who helped her with her birth plan:
“I built a relationship with Becca and although I was high-risk from a previous birth, she helped me put together the birth plan I wanted. I’m really pleased to have had that opportunity and I feel really lucky actually to have chosen exactly how I wanted to deliver him.”
Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity
There has been so much to celebrate recently – a hugely successful charity abseil, spring grant deliveries, celebrations of our nursing, midwifery and volunteering teams, and of course our Jubilee celebrations.
Seventy people took part in our abseil challenge down the Southend Hospital Tower block, raising over £30,000.
Following a successful charity ball, local mortgage brokerage Affinity Group made a generous donation of £13,233 to Southend Hospital’s colorectal oncology department.
Basildon Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Centre recently accepted a personal donation of £2,050 from Annabel Brewster, given in thanks for her mother’s treatment following a heart attack.
Finally, Broomfield’s burns department benefitted from £28,480 of charitable funding which has been used to buy new equipment to measure how well a patient’s scars are healing.
Star fundraiser: Out to Africa (OTA) fundraising team
Congratulations and thank you to our Ride London – Essex team who took on the iconic 100-mile cycling challenge. The team’s efforts proved a huge success, with over £3,000 in donations already received.
The team who took on the challenge were Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Tom Browne, his son Tommy Browne, Consultant Upper GI surgeon Naga Venkatesh Jaynanthi and Urology surgeon Daniel Swallow.
A big thank you also to OTA members, Sarah Smailes, Physiotherapy Consultant burns and plastic surgery, and Sue Boasman, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who have also raised almost £1,000 for the OTA fund.
- Sunday 4 September: The Big Half, Tower Bridge.
- Sunday 18 September: Walk for Wards, Southend Seafront.
Find out more here.