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September News 2016

29 September


Research and development team calls for participants to assist with blood pressure medication study

The research and development team is appealing for participants to take part in a study to determine the best administration schedule for blood pressure medication.

Anyone who is currently prescribed a once-daily antihypertensive tablet can sign up for the Time Study Trial, which is run by the University of Dundee. The only exclusions are for those who take blood pressure medication in both the morning and the evening, those who work night shifts, and those who are participating in another clinical trial or have done so in the last three months.

The aim of the study is to uncover supporting evidence for the effectiveness of blood pressure medication when taken as a conventional morning dose or alternatively in the evening. As part of the trial, participants will be randomised to either schedule and the team will follow up to collate results. The trial has been conducted at multiple centres around the UK for several years and will close at the end of this year.

Here at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, the Time Study Trial is overseen by consultant cardiologist Dr Gerald Clesham and supported by the research and development team.

Dr Clesham said: “This study will really help our understanding of the best time of the day to take antihypertensive medication.

“It is a very simple trial and it is very easy for patients to enrole. Patients can register themselves online and we are happy to answer any queries.”

INFORMATION: Please visit www.timestudy.co.uk  for more



Provide Secondment opportunity

29 September


Band 5 nurses offered career development programme centred on elderly care

Band 5 nurses can apply for an exciting new opportunity as part of our rotational programme with a focus on care of the elderly.

The initiative, which has been developed together with Provide Community Interest Company and supported by the Essex Workforce Partnership, will offer a structured, fully funded two-year course to six successful applicants.

It will include gaining experience in both community and acute settings, with care of the elderly at the centre of the clinical practice and the theoretical underpinning of care.

Aspects include 10 months spent on a community ward placement, one month with the CCG, five months in the Frailty Assessment Unit, six months in elderly care, and one month in a mental health setting.

There are a range of areas where you can enhance your professional competencies, such as falls, dementia, conflict resolution, tissue viability and end of life care.

You will have the opportunity to undertake academic modules to the value of 60 credits at first or master’s degree level, depending on your current academic achievements.

Justine Wren, Medical Matron, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for staff who see care of the elderly as an avenue they would like to pursue in nursing.

“With our changing demographic this will give you the right experience and skillset in whatever specialism you practice - there are lots of learning opportunities in the elderly care pathway.”

INFORMATION: The roles are open to both internal MEHT or Provide applicants and external applicants. If you are interested in these positions, please email communications@meht.nhs.uk in the first instance.



Cardiac Rehab Team - web

27 September 


Cardiac rehab team reflect on two decades of helping people back to health

After two decades of helping patients to enjoy life once again following a health crisis, the cardiac rehab team have taken an opportunity to pause and reflect.

Julia Honey, cardiac rehab nurse, and Sue Beaver, senior physiotherapist for cardiac rehab, have worked together since the mid-1990s. At this time the team was quite small. Over the years, Sue and Julia have seen a vast change in the service provided, including increasing the specialist nursing staff, working with other multidisciplinary team members such as dieticians and pharmacists and having a matron to oversee the service. The whole team have been involved in shaping the service that is offered throughout the area today.

The cardiac rehab provision started with Julia’s appointment in 1996, assisted where necessary by other staff members. It was in this year that Sue first joined on a part-time basis, gradually increasing her hours until she became a full-time employee about five years ago.

Since the early days of cardiac rehab here at MEHT, the service has grown and evolved, now involving a 10-strong team who work to improve the health of those who have experienced cardiac issues. When it began, they mainly assisted patients – predominantly men in their 60s – who had suffered heart attacks. Now, Julia explained that the demographic of patients they see has changed to include more women, plus younger and older people from 30 to 90.

“We’re seeing more complicated patients with various other ailments. People were waiting a year to have an angiogram and then a year to have their surgery, now the whole process will be done within six months.

“We have a patient with an external pump for his heart because his heart is so severely damaged and he is waiting for a transplant. He is now exercising with us and is back to work five days a week.

“For most patients it is about getting the confidence to pursue their interests and perhaps lead a healthier lifestyle. Our message is that they should get back to doing everything they could do before,” she said.

They have also seen a sharp increase in capacity and uptake, from offering an evening class at Broomfield twice a week with 70 attendees in the first year to a programme which now features three classes at Broomfield as well as at Braintree Community Hospital and St Peter’s Hospital in Maldon, accessed by a total of 560 people per year. The team meets with patients both during their hospital stay and after they are discharged, providing an eight-week course of rehabilitation, education and physical training activities. They may then refer patients on for further exercise classes, plus they contact them to track their progress and support them on their journey back to fitness.

Sue added: “As a whole, cardiac rehab is recognised an awful lot more now than it was 20 years ago in this country. When we started there wasn’t much evidence that cardiac rehab worked, but now it is very much looked at as an important part of recovery.

“You see such a change in people, from being quite anxious to quite confident. It is nice to be part of that; it is very rewarding and patients are very grateful. What we do is encourage people to get back to a full, active lifestyle.” 



Cardiac- Zoe Kemp Degree 2016

26 September


Cardiac physiologist awarded first-class degree after training at Broomfield Hospital

A cardiac physiologist has achieved a first-class honours degree following her training placement at Broomfield Hospital.

Zoe Kemp completed her three-year BSc Healthcare Science course in June and has now been awarded this accolade from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. She will be formally presented with her qualification at a graduation ceremony in October.

Her duties as a full-time member of staff at the Cardiac Centre are to test and monitor heart function, including rhythm and electrical activity. She undertook a career in freight forwarding prior to changing direction and embarking on her studies.

Zoe said: “The course looked really interesting because it is about helping people. I love the patient interaction – we see so many patients with a variety of problems and illnesses. It is nice to see patients develop and improve with our help.”

She now plans to continue working towards her professional development by pursuing further study, starting with a pacing exam next year.

“I really enjoyed working towards my degree, both the practical side and the studying. I felt like I had the best of both worlds.

“The team has been really supportive and my colleagues were really pleased for me when I found out what I had achieved. It’s great to be part of the team – everyone works so well together,” she said.


Pharmacy-Hematology photo 2016

7 September


New Haematology and Oncology Pharmacists describe their working lives supporting cancer care

Two new members of the Haematology and Oncology Pharmacy Team have spoken of their enthusiasm for their roles, offering an insight into the pharmaceutical processes that support the provision of care for patients with cancer.

Behind the counter in the main atrium is a labyrinthine series of high-tech hives of activity where drugs are manufactured or ordered in, stored and then distributed throughout the Broomfield Hospital site. A key part of this is the pharmacy robot – a machine which can be programmed to select drugs from the storage area and move them at high speed to a collection point, ready for transportation.

There is hustle and bustle as teams pack the medication, juxtaposed with the quiet of the sterile rooms where technicians manufacture the drugs to specification.

Sophie Wahlich, Principal Pharmacist for Haematology and Oncology, and her colleague, Zena Mahdi, Lead Oncology and Haematology Pharmacist, are based in an office nearby, overseeing the daily dispensing of chemotherapy and associated supportive medications.

As part of this, their duties also include responding to medication queries from clinical staff, liaising with consultants about the possibility of obtaining drugs which are new to the market, and working with the manufacturing team to ensure that all medications are of the highest standard. They support the Chemotherapy Day Unit, assisting 35 patients per day with their treatment regimens and between 10 and 20 further patients with oral medication.

Sophie was initially inspired to pursue a career in pharmacy after completing A-levels in science and undertaking a summer placement at GlaxoSmithKline, where her dad worked as a chemist. She qualified with a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Bath in 2008 and once qualified spent five years at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, becoming a pharmacist specialising in Oncology in 2012. This was followed by 18 months as a specialist oncology pharmacist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, prior to accepting a role here at MEHT, which she started in July.

She said: “I had such a great rotation in Oncology at Addenbrooke’s with people who inspired me to want to be part of their team.

“I first came to MEHT on study days while at Addenbrooke’s - it is a lovely Trust, everyone is so incredibly positive, friendly and very supportive.

“It’s a very nice hospital to work in – it is a facility with a sense of wellbeing for patients and staff.”

She explained that the directorate is undergoing a restructure, which has presented some challenges in her initial months in the role.

“We are going to be pushing the service forward - it is a positive step. We are all very keen and driven and we are all working towards a common goal,” she added.

Her colleague, Zena, read Pharmacy at the Medway School of Pharmacy, University of Kent and Greenwich, graduating in 2013. She then joined MEHT as a preregistration pharmacist, becoming a rotational pharmacist upon qualification. Her rotations included a period in Oncology. She has completed her postgraduate Clinical Pharmacy Diploma from Queen’s University, Belfast, over the last two years and began her specialist oncology role here at MEHT in August.

She said: “It is a lot more flexible in a hospital pharmacy, rather than in the community, as we have the experience to make decisions about patient care. We have a lot more capacity to make a difference – I like the freedom of being in a hospital.

“We are a brand new team and we are both incredibly enthusiastic about making this section of pharmacy the best it can possibly be.”


Jim Seager Helideck 2016

2 September 


Helideck team invite us for behind-the-scenes tour of this “huge asset” to the hospital

On the top floor of the building sit a highly trained crew “like coiled springs ready to leap into action.”

With just 10 minutes’ notice, they must be able to prepare the helideck for an incoming helicopter to land with a seriously ill patient on board. Every second counts from the moment the call comes in – and it’s the responsibility of Helideck Fire and Landing OfficerJim Seager and his team to ensure that the process is carried out safely, efficiently and seamlessly.

Jim and helideck firefighter Ray Marshall are notified of an incoming helicopter by the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) desk at the East of England Ambulance Service or London’s Air Ambulance. They take down brief details and then call the Resuscitation Unit - and also the Burns ITU if required. Next, they page one of four Bouygue support volunteers to report to the helideck immediately.

Preparation continues with the team kitting up in full fire service protective clothing. One member of the team is asked to secure a lift, while another positions a special trolley at the helideck ready to transport the patient. During the last five minutes, calls are transferred to the helideck phone and the entire team stand by on the helideck after carrying out final checks on all of the systems – which are rigorously maintained and stringently checked before the helideck is declared open each day. Once the helicopter has landed safely and shut down the team also assist the HEMS medics as directed and escort the patient to the receiving emergency care teams.

Jim said: “The primary role of the team is to provide a dedicated fire response service should the unthinkable happen – a helicopter crash onto the helideck or roof area – meeting a response time of less than 15 seconds.

“From the point of someone sustaining a major traumatic injury they need to get specialist medical treatment within 60 minutes - ‘The Golden Hour’ – after this their chances of survival can start to rapidly diminish. This is where the HEMS system delivers a fantastic service and saves lives.

“If a patient is brought in by air to Broomfield, that patient is likely to be seriously injured or more often, seriously burnt, requiring our world-renowned specialist Burns Unit. While waiting for those calls we are like coiled springs ready to leap into action.”

The HEMS has been the driving force of Jim’s career for more than 25 years. After nurturing a long-held ambition to work in aviation, he started in the profession with CB Helicopters in 1987. The helicopter company was in the beginning stages of being sponsored by Express Newspapers to provide the first HEMS unit in the UK (HEMS London), plus an air display team. Within six months of joining the company, he was promoted to air display team manager and spent five years touring all around the UK with the team. After the team disbanded in 1992 he joined HEMS London at The Royal London Hospital. From 1992-2000, he worked as an aviation firefighter specialising specifically in helipad fire and rescue.

He also runs his own helicopter support services business and has worked with corporate clients including Harrods, meeting celebrities such as Elton John, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and Kylie in the course of his duties. In 2011, after being invited to deliver two helideck fire training courses for the new helideck here at Broomfield Hospital - which was built as part of the wider PFI agreement for the main building - he was then asked to become a full-time member of staff.  His career accomplishments have included qualifications such as professional instructor and assessor,Low Cat Licenced Aerodrome/Helipad Junior Fire Officer and Helicopter Landing Officer, an offshore oil/gas platform qualification required to command an elevated helideck.

He explained that a surface level helicopter landing pad existed at Broomfield Hospital until about 2005, which was demolished for the new patient car park. In the interlude between its closure and the opening of the elevated helideck, a landing pad at Boreham Aerodrome was used – this remains the hospital’s secondary landing site if required.

The Broomfield Hospital helipad is used by air ambulance services including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Essex Air Ambulance, Herts Air Ambulance and London’s Air Ambulance – air ambulances also fly to the helipad from further afield in the country. It responds to both patient carry and medical crew pick up calls.

Jim said: “I live, eat and breathe what I do, 24 hours a day. I am in the midnight hour of my career and I dread the day when I’m not doing this. I have an absolute passion for HEMS and the small part the Broomfield team have to play in it.

“There are about 50 hospital landing sites and about 17 elevated helidecks like Broomfield in the UK. I believe, in my professional opinion, that this is probably the best hospital helideck operation in the country supporting the HEMS service. It’s not just my opinion - the HEMS crews love coming here.

“It’s a simple safe system that works very, very well and it is very reliable. It should be seen as a huge asset to the hospital.”

INFORMATION: For more about HEMS, please visit http://www.ukhems.co.uk.