20 November 2020
Hello and welcome to H1, a newsletter named after our hospital bus route which aims to help keep you connected with all of the latest news and developments at Epsom and St Helier hospitals and our community services. 
An update from St Helier Hospital
Dear all

I am delighted to say that plans to invest more than £500 million in building a brand new specialist emergency care hospital in Sutton and modernise Epsom and St Helier hospitals are another step closer this week, following a review of the decision by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock. The IRP recommended that the NHS proceed to implement its plans and the Secretary of State accepted their recommendation.
You can find the full letter from here and information on the Government's website by clicking this link: 

Included in this letter, the Chair of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel said "change is essential and requires significant new capital investment to provide appropriate buildings". 

In responding to the independent advice, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This new hospital will be transformational for patients and staff at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust and the wider community. 
"I look forward to seeing the hospital take shape over the coming months and years, and hope that the public will be as involved as possible in shaping the new services. 
"This new hospital is one of 40 we are building up and down the country by 2030, as part of our £3.7 billion hospital building programme." 
As you would expect, we welcome the advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, and are delighted that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has agreed that we should proceed with investing £500 million in a new hospital at Sutton, and in Epsom and St Helier hospitals.
We are now moving forward at full speed to design the new hospitals and will soon be engaging with our local communities on the new hospital facilities. If things go to plan then builders should be on site in Sutton on Spring 2022 with the new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opening in 2025. 

As our local partners, patients and staff will know, over the course of the past five years, we have set out the reasons why we need to change and why this investment is so badly needed. It is obvious to everyone who works in our buildings and the patients we see that our buildings aren't fit for 21st century healthcare. We remain committed to the timeline we have set out to have the new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opened in 2025. 

Best wishes,

COVID-19 update
As you'll know, new lockdown restrictions for England were announced on Saturday evening following rising cases of COVID nationally. We have seen an increase in the number of patients with COVID, but thanks to the hard work and determination of staff, we continue to provide compassionate care to the people who need us.  
Please be assured that at the moment it is business as usual at Epsom and St Helier - over the last few weeks we have been delivering 100% of our normal levels of planned care activity - that's outpatients, diagnostics, day surgery and inpatient surgery.  We are open, and patients should come to us as normal.  Some of our activity is taking place at Ashtead Hospital.   We have separated out planned care and emergency care.  We are a safe place to come for treatment so please if you have an appointment please keep it.
Three is the magic number (for CT scanners at St Helier at least!) 

I was recently invited to the opening of our new CT scanning facility behind Ferguson House at St Helier. After meeting those involved with the project, I was invited to cut the ribbon and declare the fully accessible and COVID secure unit open for business! 


We already have two scanners at St Helier Hospital, both of which are located in the Mackenzie Unit, but this new scanner - introduced for infection control reasons - will increase our CT scanning capacity and allow us to provide truly outstanding care to every patient using the service. The location of the scanner means that patients don't need to enter the hospital to access it, so it will remain a safe area for patients. The facility will soon operate seven days a week, and will be providing scans for patients from 8am-8pm in order to provide increased capacity.  


St Helier received the scanner through COVID-19 related funding from NHS England and Improvement, but in order to make the service completely standalone the Trust also invested an additional £80,000 to provide a reporting area and accessible WC (which will allow us to undertake complex CT colon work). I was particularly impressed with the speed at which our staff were able to make this service operational - projects such as this usually take around six months to complete, but, after receiving the initial funding in end of July, through hard work and determination the team were able to get our new scanner up and running within three months. Now that it is open, the scanner will be used for CT colons, general CT scans, and contrast CT scans; the green reporting room allows for radiologists to be on site, enabling us to run contrast lists for patients.

COVID recovery in action
We have launched a new outpatient rehabilitation programme at Leatherhead Hospital. The service, which is run by therapists from ESTH, Surrey Downs Health and Care, Sutton Health and Care, as well as our hospital respiratory medical and nursing team. The team are providing a comprehensive six week programme for those struggling to return to full fitness following a COVID discharge. The service can also offer mental health support for those who might need it - and as we know from experience, COVID can have a lasting impact to both physical and mental health.  We believe that we are one of only a handful of NHS providers running a service like this. 

The service, which started at the end of July, has cared for patients as young as 31 and up to the age of 84. The sessions incorporate strength based and cardiovascular exercises with the aim of improving lasting COVID symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, and exercise tolerance. 
The service operates with input from every area of the Trust, and is open to COVID outpatients from Surrey Downs Health and Care and Sutton Health and Care as well as those referred by the respiratory teams at St Helier and Epsom hospitals.  
It was an insightful and inspiring trip over to the Leach Ward, and a reminder of the great work we continue to do in the face of COVID-19 to benefit our patients.