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Rating Boost for Infection Prevention

17 January

Rating Boost for Infection Prevention

The hospital’s new infection prevention and control team have made an immediate impact as NHS Improvement’s latest infection prevention control review gave Broomfield a green rating.

After being rated red in September, Judy Holdsworth and Sian Olivo arrived on secondment from Southend and Basildon hospitals, and infection control nurses Jo Wellard and Rosie Davison joined to work alongside healthcare support worker Charlotte Brett and data analyst Janet Thrower.

The team’s dedication has paid dividends as a six-strong team from NHS Improvement and Mid Essex CCG reported excellent progress after inspecting Burns ITU, the emergency department, Bardfield and Terling wards.

Jo Wellard, who began her new role in November, was quick to point out it was a team effort. “We’ve worked really hard with the ward teams, matrons and associate directors of nursing to put infection control at the top of the agenda. We’ve improved surveillance and have regular assurance audits to help wards understand where they could improve. They’ve all been brilliant on taking ownership of infection control on a daily basis.

“Judy, Sian and Charlotte started the process and then Rosie and I came on board to support them. It was certainly an exciting time to join the team and we’ve made a great deal of progress in a short space of time. The inspectors were impressed how engaged wards were and how good practice was embedded.”

Judy Holdsworth added: “We’re a brand new team and I’d like to say a massive thanks to Maggie Bayley and all of the ward staff for their hard work. I’d also like to mention the amazing contribution of the domestics - especially during norovirus - and also everyone working in the laboratories who were so quick at dealing with samples.”


17 January

Sister Jean celebrates twenty years at Broomfield

Trust chaplain Sister Jean Searson has been presented with a silver framed certificate, flowers and cards to mark two decades of service at the hospital.

Having completed her chaplaincy training in her home city of Dublin, Jean – a Roman Catholic nun – moved to Chelmsford in January 1999 from a posting in Birmingham.

Initially working part-time with specific care for Roman Catholic patients, Jean has seen her role and the chaplaincy team grow.

“There’s a gift in being in once place for twenty years because you recognise patient’s names when they come back. Patients will ask for you. I’ve seen five lead chaplains, five Catholic priests, and lots of other Trust chaplains. I became involved with training volunteers and the spiritual side of the chaplaincy team, running quiet days and self-care days. I really enjoy the creative spirituality side.”

Jean, who has been treated twice for breast cancer, now works two days a week and enjoys her work as much as ever.

“Every day is different. You don’t know what’s going to happen or who you’re going to journey with. Some of the encounters can be very simple.  Just sitting and holding someone’s hand can make a difference. There are surprises every day, there are highs and lows with it, and when you’re bleeped you never know where you might go.

“I do a lot more end-of-life with patients and family. There’s a sense of being very comfortable with people who are journeying at the end of life. It’s very much a privileged place to be. Just to be able to sit with patients who are dying and reassure the patient or the family, there’s a real sense of rightness about it, of it being sacred ground. Being with a family when someone is dying is very special and, with experience, I feel comfortable there.

“I’m passionate about being with people. I enjoy listening to people’s stories – what’s important to them, what gives them life. We’re privileged being the only members of staff that have time. We are not rushing somewhere else. Even ten minutes with somebody can be really quality time.”

Lead chaplain Tim Blake paid tribute to Jean: “Jean’s contribution to the volunteer programme at Broomfield can’t be overstated. She has radically changed the way in which chaplaincy volunteers are recruited and trained. She sets very high standards and does so with compassion and kindness, and reaches out to others with great care.”

After twenty years at Broomfield and 47 as a nun, does Jean have any thoughts of retirement?

“Retire? Nuns don’t retire, we get upcycled!”

At a special service in the chaplaincy to celebrate Jean’s time at Broomfield she chose this blessing, which she’d like to share:

Now is the time to free the heart, 
Let all intentions and worries stop
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life
Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.
See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be,
And the mind to mirror the mystery.

John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us

Warner Library Gets Top Marks

17 January

Warner Library Gets Top Marks

The Warner Library is celebrating 100% in the Library Quality Assurance Framework – Health Education England’s quality assessment.

It’s the second consecutive year the library has got a perfect score, an achievement library manager Deborah Lepley puts down to her ‘fantastic team’.

All NHS libraries have to complete the annual assessment with a target of being 90% compliant with the NHS library and knowledge services guidelines, but once again the Warner team have exceeded the standard.

Deborah, who has worked at Broomfield for 18 years and managed the library since 2013, explained the criteria. “We had to demonstrate that the library service makes a positive impact in the Trust, and that we support clinical and management decision-making with the evidence to deliver high quality patient care and service improvement. We’re not just here as an educational resource.

“Also, we were assessed on information provision to patients and how we support knowledge management. We help ensure that the patient information and guidelines we’re producing are based on the latest evidence.”

The library, which moved to its current location behind MAU in 1992, loaned almost 3,500 books last year, dealt with over 850 book and journal requests, and ran training sessions for 327 members of staff.

The library has a staff of five, with deputy librarian Ian Wilkes and assistants Mary Brazil, Ruth Byford and Lorraine Jackson working alongside Deborah.

“I’ve got a fantastic team. Ian has been here over ten years; he’s excellent on the resources and also runs some of the training and inductions for new staff. And the three library assistants are brilliant at offering first-line support. We are making a difference in our own quiet way.”

Many of the Warner’s resources are available electronically and the library has also recently installed a self-issue machine, funded by a grant from the Chelmsford Medical Education Research Trust. 

The library also runs a new current awareness service called KnowledgeShare where people can sign up to receive targeted emails highlighting new evidence as it comes to light, and plans are afoot to open 24 hours a day.

Deborah would like to see as many staff members as possible use the facilities. “We’re here for all staff. Evidence should underpin every decision made and we are experts in finding information and providing that evidence, but we also have a range of fiction and wellbeing books. It’s a very peaceful environment and everyone is welcome.”

The Warner Library is open from 8.30am Monday to Friday and you can contact them by email warner.library@meht.nhs.uk , by calling 01245 514708. Visit their intranet page http://meht-intranet/hr/learning-and-development/warner-library-services/

Toby Stock and Lauren Shillito - antimicrobial stewards
Toby Stock and Lauren Shillito - antimicrobial stewards

10 January

Antimicrobial stewards prescribing change at Broomfield

Antimicrobial stewards at Broomfield Hospital are behind an innovative scheme, believed to be the first in the UK, to ensure antibiotics are prescribed more intelligently.

Lauren Shillito and Toby Stock, who both have degrees in psychology, have been compiling and analysing data around prescriptions and their work is already reaping benefits.

Since the pair started work in July 2018, Broomfield has seen a 22% decrease in antibiotic consumption, a 25% increase in IV antibiotics being reviewed between 24 – 72 hours, and hospital-wide compliancy with local prescription guidelines has reached a high of 82%.

Lauren and Toby work with consultant microbiologist Dr Wael Elamin and antimicrobial pharmacist Imran Ali to analyse clinical behaviours.

Lauren explains: “We’re trying to change behaviours, to make people think about why they’re prescribing certain drugs, and to think about the effect of having these reviews. It’s not about enforcing rules, it’s highlighting the ‘why?’ in the hope that will help people to change their behaviour in a way that will benefit patients.

Toby added: “We measure the antibiotic consumption in the hospital though DDDs – daily drug dosage. It’s a standardized unit across all different antibiotics and course lengths.

“The surgical division is our greatest success story and where we see our most consistent results. In terms of compliance with local guideline, general surgery has risen from around 40% to consistently above 80%.

Dr Elamin was full of praise for Toby and Lauren: “‘They have made a massive contribution and I’ve learned a lot from them myself. We think this is expandable to other specialities because a lot of the problems in the NHS are behavioural rather than clinical.

“Antibiotics are probably the third most expensive drugs we use in a hospital. About one in every three patients is on antibiotics. You’re exposing patients to fewer antibiotics, with the probability of less side effects, and you’re not treating patients unnecessarily. You save money and patients will be able to go home earlier.

Antibiotic resistance is rated second only to terrorism as a threat to national security and after being late to sign up the government’s CQUIN targets for reducing antibiotic consumption, the team now hope Broomfield can become an example to other Trusts. 

Toby and Lauren were unsure how clinicians would react to two non-medical staff making suggestions about their working practices but have been pleased about how open-minded they have been. “Without the clinical teams’ input this wouldn’t be possible. Their behaviours are perfectly normal, human behaviours, but sometimes they just need more opportunity for reflection,” said Toby. Lauren added they were “helping clinical teams reach their own conclusions”.

Dr Elamin thanked senior management for the support he’d received in being able to recruit Lauren and Toby, but stressed how important it is for behavioural change to be long-term: “It’s an ongoing project. We always reflect on what goes right and wrong and where we can improve. But the momentum has to continue.”

Catherine Lawes
Catherine Lawes

9 January

‘They told my family they didn’t think I was going to make it through the night’

Midwife and mother-of-four Catherine Lawes tell us how the team at Broomfield Hospital helped her fight back from heart failure and strokes to resume her career.

Four years ago, Catherine returned home after a shift as a community midwife and began experiencing chest pain. She put it down to anxiety, picked her children up from school and tried to carry on as normal.

When the pain didn’t go, she drove herself to A&E at Broomfield, walked in and collapsed. 

Doctors quickly established there was a severe problem with Catherine’s heart. With her condition deteriorating, she was transferred to the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital.

“I wasn’t aware but they had to put me on CPAP (airway ventilator) because my lungs were filling up with blood. I was drowning because my heart wasn’t working properly.

“The consultant stayed at the end of my bed until 6am at which point they took me to theatre and put a balloon in to replace my heart function.

“They told my family they didn’t think I was going to make it through the night and to prepare for the worst. 

Catherine, who had no previous history of ill health, lost her eyesight and became confused. MRI and CAT scans revealed she’d had a stroke, and had had strokes previously. 

It was then discovered Catherine had a hole in her heart.

“They said it was a rare condition called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also called broken heart syndrome. After a long admission I left hospital with only 46% heart function. I had a stammer, a tremor, poor neurological function, poor memory.

“Six months after heart failure I had to go back into Basildon for open heart surgery and have my heart reconstructed with a pig pericardium.

“It was tough on the family. I was at home with my four children unable to work or function properly but trying desperately to.”

During an admission after another cardiac event last year Broomfield consultant cardiologist Dr Onkar Dhillon spotted abnormal heart rhythms and Catherine was subsequently diagnosed with a condition called Prolonged Q-T syndrome – which means she is vulnerable to sudden adult death syndrome. She now has a cardiac device in her chest which is monitored by the team at Bart’s in London.

Eight months after the open heart surgery Catherine was encouraged to come back to work. To help her recovery, she was taken off shift work and a role was created for her - screening newborns for congenital heart conditions, initially on a temporary basis.

But the transition back to work was incredibly challenging.

“I struggled with my memory, self-esteem, clinical confidence, fatigue – I was tired all the time. When I first came back I’d do two hours and feel like I needed to sleep. 

“The midwives here - Liz Williamson, Serena Rae, Carole Hughes, Sarah Dunn and Alison Cuthbertson - saw me at my most vulnerable and carried me.”

In December, Catherine returned to work full-time and is now the clinical lead midwife for newborn and infant physical examination on the Postnatal ward. She is also about to start a master’s level course to become to a professional midwifery advocate after being recommended by colleagues.

“Alison Cuthbertson allowing me to sit in my position on a temporary basis and then offering me a permanent role is quite unheard of. 

“Sarah Dunn really pushed for me. Serena and Liz were my friends and really supported me but Sarah and Alison said, ‘Catherine’s good at this, can we give her a chance? We’ll get her through.’ Anything that was too stressful, Alison kept me away. I’ve been looked after.”

“I’ve experienced excellent care. It’s kept me alive. What it continues to do for me and my family is just amazing.

 “There is so much that I’m grateful for, and thankful for. I am very passionate about early detection and screening for our babies. I love my job, my colleagues and I am very proud to be reinstated and a specialist in this field. So much good has come out of a really bad situation.

“The care and support I’ve had as a patient and an employee has been incredible.”

3 January

New Chair for Mid Essex Hospitals

A new Chair has been appointed for Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust.

Alan Tobias OBE will join the trust from 1 February. Alan is already the Chair at Southend Hospital, and will hold the role across both trusts.

Mid Essex Hospitals is expected to merge with Southend and Basildon hospitals next year, and this joint appointment represents a further step in closer working between the organisations.

Nigel Beverley will continue in his role as Chair at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and remains Chair of the three hospitals’ Joint Working Board.

Clare Panniker, Chief Executive of the three trusts, said: “I am delighted that Alan will be joining the team at Mid Essex as our permanent Chair. He has been instrumental in delivering improvements in patient care at Southend and I have no doubt that he will be a huge asset. 

“I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to the outgoing Chair, Nick Alston, who has chosen to step down from the role. He has been a Non Executive Director at Mid Essex for eight years and has played a vital role in providing strong leadership at a time of change for the organisation. He will be greatly missed.”

Nick Alston said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Mid Essex. Working with the dedicated teams here has been a privilege. It has been a source of constant inspiration to witness the great services delivered by our skilled and dedicated staff every day.

“I am pleased that I am leaving them in such capable hands.”

NHS Improvement has today confirmed Alan’s appointment until the end of 2020, or the official merger of the three trusts – whichever is sooner.

Alan said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the team at Mid Essex Hospitals. There is some fantastic work going on across the organisation, and real opportunities to improve care and services for the population we serve as we work more closely with Basildon, Southend and our community partners.”

Mayor at Broomfield Hospital

2 January

Mayor of Chelmsford Visits Maternity

The maternity unit received a special visit from Mayor of Chelmsford Yvonne Spence as she came to meet new parents and thank staff for their hard work over the festive period.

Accompanied by her deputy Christine Garrett and consort John Spence, the mayor was shown around Broomfield’s labour, neonatal and postnatal facilities by lead midwife Amanda Dixon and Trust chairman Nick Alston.

The mayoral party spent over an hour touring the department and chatted to midwives who’d been delivering children whilst Father Christmas delivered presents.

Along the way, the mayor encountered a familiar face - new mum Elizabeth Herniman had been taught by the mayor as a reception class pupil over twenty years ago. The last time they’d seen each other Elizabeth said the mayor was teaching her to read, and she obviously did a good job as Elizabeth is now a teacher herself.

The mayor said: “Thank you very much to everybody, we’ve had a wonderful tour round, we’ve met some wonderful new babies and I’m sure their parents are thrilled. Thank you particularly to all the staff who have worked over the Christmas and New Year period because it’s probably a time when they want to be with their families but here they are helping people to extend theirs. So thank you to everybody on behalf of the people of Chelmsford.’’

Amanda Dixon, lead midwife, led the tour: ‘‘Thank you very much to the mayor and her entourage for coming to see us today. We’re very grateful to them for coming and hopefully we’ve given them an insight into what we do. I’d also like to express heartfelt thanks to all of my wonderful team who have worked over the festive period.’’

Nick Alston, Trust chairman, added: “‘It’s always good to see the mayor, it was a lovely visit, and thanks to Amanda and the team. It’s been great.’’

Good Morning Britain_01
Good Morning Britain_02

1 January

Maternity Go Live on Good Morning Britain

ITV’s popular breakfast show Good Morning Britain broadcast live from Maternity on New Year’s Eve as the last babies of 2018 were delivered at Broomfield.

At just after 6.30am, reporter Pip Tomson spoke live to new mum Natalie who’d given birth to baby Lucas just four hours before, and Amy who’d given birth the previous day to a girl called Darcy – a name she shares with GMB presenter Kate Garraway’s daughter.

There was also a starring role for lead midwife Becky Scully who was totally undaunted by being beamed live into 700,000 living rooms.

With the GMB crew desperate for a birth while they were on air, all hopes were pinned on second-time mum Sally who was in labour as the show was running. And at 8.28am, Sally delivered a baby girl just in time for the birth to be announced live as the show wrapped.

Just 15 minutes later, Sally allowed the cameras in to see her new arrival for a short film that was shared with GMB’s 500k Twitter followers.