September 2020
Hello and welcome to H1, a newsletter named after our new hospital bus route, which is designed to make sure that you and your colleagues are kept up to date with the latest news and activities at Epsom and St Helier.
You are warmly invited to our APM
This Friday (11 September), we're holding our Annual Public Meeting, and you are all more than welcome to join us. Taking place by Zoom from 9.30am to 11am, there's an exciting agenda, including the launch of our five year strategy and our first ever illustrated and animated video about what's ahead for us. We'll be reflecting on the impact of COVID, talking about the impact our new value of RESPECT has had on morale, but perhaps most importantly (and for the first time ever), we'll be signing off the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report in the APM. This is mark of how important EDI is to us as an organisation as it becomes a high profile conversation point in our biggest public meeting of the year.

We have also made a pledge - a visual commitment to equality and anti-racism that reflects our diverse workforce and the people we serve. It reads: The people we care for and the people who work here are from every race, ethnicity and heritage. We are proud to celebrate our diversity, support equality and commit to being anti-racist in all aspects of what we do.

The pledge is now displayed with pride across two giant banners at our hospitals, and at 52 feet wide across the main entrance of St Helier and 26 foot tall on the side of Epsom, I hope they will be hard to miss!

After the events of the past few months, which have brought equality, diversity and
 inclusion into such sharp focus (from the disproportionate number of BAME

Featuring real staff from our diverse workforce, some of whom were photographed still bearing the marks of a long shift in PPE, these are really powerful images. We are now in the process of asking staff to make commitments to the pledge, from challenging racist behaviours or language from others, to reading up about the subject. people affected by COVID, to the Black Lives Matter conversations here and in America), it has never felt more important to do everything we can to make Epsom and St Helier hospitals, Surrey Downs Health and Care, and Sutton Health and Care, as inclusive as possible.

I know you have busy diaries, but if you can spare some time to join us, please do! Simply register for the Zoom call here: 
Restoring our services after COVID

It's been a long six months since the COVID-19 pandemic stopped our outpatient appointments and elective surgery in its tracks, and many of our staff were redeployed. We recognise just how difficult this period has been for local people, our patients and our staff (who deserve a huge thank you for all that they have done).:

After a period of really hard work, our teams are back where they belong and providing hundreds of outpatient appointments and surgical procedures every day. This is great news for our patients, and a very welcome development.

I would like to assure you all though, that to make sure our patients with cancer or those who needed emergency surgery were seen safely during the pandemic, our surgeons (and other staff) have been working from Ashtead Hospital and St Antony's over the past few months, and in the meantime, have done a systematic clinical review to prioritise every single patient on their waiting lists. This is not a small undertaking, but it will mean that every person on our lists has fair access to our services.   

I would like to say a huge thank you to every person involved, including those working behind the scenes, from the admin support staff to the domestic teams who helped dust down our dormant theatres - a huge thank you to the team.

And remember, if you are invited to an appointment with us, please do come. Our teams are on hand to answer any questions you may have or allay any concerns before you come in, but please don't put off needed treatment.

Although the vast majority of our outpatient appointments are held over the phone or video call, we are seeing more people in our buildings. This is welcome news as we do not want people to put off healthcare, and we are always pleased to be of service to our local communities. To help keep our vulnerable patients safe during a visit or stay with us, we have put one way routes in place across our hospitals, and have 'sanitation stations' offering alcohol hand gel and masks to staff and visitors as they enter the building.

Heating the heart of our hospital
A new combined heat and power plant that was installed by craning a 37 tonne engine and container over the roof of St Helier, is now up and running and helping the Trust to slash carbon emissions and energy bills.
The new energy centre is powered by a nine tonne engine that generates 800kw of electricity and captures the heat that would otherwise be wasted to provide useful thermal energy, which the hospital uses to heat hot water.
This reduces the amount of electricity the Trust uses from the national grid by a massive 4,900,000 kWh per annum and, combined with the new LED lighting and new gas boilers, will help to cut the hospital's energy bill by £1million every year.
The container has been purpose-built to ensure that noise levels are not exceeded for our neighbours, and in fact, it is officially the quietest combined power plant in the country. 

This is an amazing piece of engineering that will make a very real difference to our energy use and bills, as well as keeping our patients and staff comfortable. As a busy hospital that needs power and hot water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this is a vital part of equipment for us.
Going the (social) distance for Walk4Wards
It wasn't quite the group outing and celebration that our charity had originally planned, but I am really pleased to say that Walk4Wards has proved to be another success, with our amazing staff and supporters raising £10,000!
It was with a heavy heart that Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity had to call off our second Walk4Wards event (which was scheduled for March) because of the impact of COVID. But, like lots of pandemic events, it was revised and reborn as Virtual Walk4Wards! Participants could do it whenever, wherever and however you liked as long as your miles were clocked up by 1 September. Most walked the original route between Epsom and St Helier hospitals while others took routes through Chessington, Richmond Park, Cornwall and as far as field Pittsburgh, USA! Thank you to everyone who took part - you've made a very real difference.
Altogether, an estimated £10,000 has been raised which is a terrific result, and of course, the Trust will honour our commitment to match every penny.
Here's hoping that for Walk 4 Wards 2021 we'll all be able to walk together again! If you have a fundraising idea or would like to support our charity, please email or call  01372 735 452.