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February 15

Calling all keen cyclists and runners!

Would you like to challenge yourself to cycle from the capital to the coast? Or would you prefer to run, walk or jog around a picturesque park while dressed as your favourite superhero?

‘Our Charity’ has five places available for the London to Brighton Cycle on September 16, and 10 places for the Superhero Run at Regent’s Park, London, on May 13. 

Please contact fundraising coordinator Charlotte Jefcoate on 01245 514860 or fundraising@meht.nhs.uk for more information.

February 15

Fundraisers prepare for Brighton Marathon

Two fundraisers are preparing to take on the challenge of a lifetime by running the Brighton Marathon on Sunday, April 15. 

Sarah Dougal is running to raise money for the Head and Neck Cancer Service.  

She said: “I have had running a marathon on my 'list of things to do before I'm 30' for a few years now, although I never expected to be celebrating by running one on my actual birthday. To motivate me through the weeks of training and the culminating 26.2 miles and make it all worthwhile, I am raising money for the Head and Neck Cancer Service, because let’s face it my pain and suffering for a few hours is insignificant in comparison to what patients go through.” 

Sophie Dix is running for the Children’s Burns Club, who have supported her family. 

She said: “In 2011 my daughter, Delilah, was severely burned in an accident in which she sustained 50% full thickness burns. She spent nearly two months in intensive care and we are lucky to still have her in our lives. She wore pressure garments covering her whole body for a year and has had endless therapy. She has been through an awful lot, however is the happiest, bravest, most confident child who touches the hearts of everyone who meets her (even her brothers, Felix and Morgan).  

“The Children's Burns Club provides support and activities to children who have been injured. As Delilah grows and becomes more aware of her scarring, it is a great opportunity to meet other burned children and for me to meet other parents. The club also provides psychological and social support for dealing with disfigurement and raising awareness about burns.”

INFORMATION: To support our fundraisers, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-dougal1 and https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-dix2.

Tom Carpenter
Tom Carpenter.

January 25

Patient Story: “Robotic Surgery Gave Me My Life Back”

Tom Carpenter, 21, from Southwater, West Sussex

“At the age of 16 I started to feel ill regularly for no apparent reason. I experienced extreme sickness, making me feel completely wretched. Nothing I did made it better, I just had to go to bed until it passed, which could take several hours. It began to affect my appetite and got worse and worse over time until I lost the ability to eat completely. I wanted to eat, but trying to just left me feeling awful. At this point I had dropped out of college and was bedridden, eating very little for months. 

“I was referred to a gastric specialist, Dr Sonny Chong, at Shirley Oaks Hospital in Surrey, and he diagnosed me with gastroparesis. I was then referred to Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan, consultant upper GI surgeon, and he introduced me to the idea of fitting a gastric pacemaker implant which could suppress the sickness I was experiencing. Ever since meeting Sonny and Sri, my life changed. My weight had plummeted to 52kg (8 stones, 2lbs), so when most 17 year olds have a driving lesson on their birthday, I was having a feeding tube fitted and began the long road to getting the pacemaker.

“I felt completely hopeless, I couldn't carry on with my education, I was weak and miserable, with no quality of life and unable to do anything my friends were doing. I finally received my gastric pacemaker on November 27, 2013, and cannot put into words how it changed my life.  

“Without a shadow of a doubt the robotic surgery needed to fit the pacemaker was the best thing that ever happened to me. My recovery was steady, but I knew I was getting strong every day and able to eat food from day one. Having the surgery carried out robotically meant that it was less invasive, which helped my recovery. Slowly but surely my appetite grew, I had little or no symptoms of the condition and I could focus on regaining my strength. This took time, I'd lost so much weight and my confidence had also taken a huge knock, it was a good six months before I felt like I was getting back to normal and decided I was ready to enrol back at college again to start in September 2014.  

“I lost two years of my life to this and four years on I am making the most of life! I completed my two-year course at college and I am now undertaking a degree in Software Development at Winchester University, for which I’m currently on track to graduate with a first. 

“Sri and Sonny completely turned my life around, they gave me my life back and this wouldn’t have been possible without the use of the robotic surgery needed to fit the life-changing pacemaker. I am eternally grateful for what they did. I don't want to lose any more time in my life to this and I will always have gastroparesis, so knowing I could have the battery replaced by the robot, minimising my recovery time, is extremely important to me and others with this condition.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics.  

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

 •0% perforation rate for Heller’s Myotomy (compared to 12% rate – European trial)

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects within recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

•Articulation beyond normal manipulation

•Naturally occurring tremors filtered out by computer software

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot

Katherine Nutt - London Marathon
Quiz and Raffle Night Poster

January 23

Support our London Marathon runners at ‘Our Charity’ and the Children’s Burns Club’s quiz and raffle night

You can support our London Marathon runners at ‘Our Charity’ and the Children’s Burns Club’s quiz and raffle night at the Medical Academic Unit, Broomfield Hospital, on Friday, March 23.

Pictured is Dr Katherine Nutt, clinical psychologist, at the Farnborough Winter Half Marathon on Sunday (January 21). 

She said: “I am taking on a huge personal challenge of running a marathon for a cause very close to my heart. 

“I have been training with, volunteering and then working with the Children's Burns Club over the last three years and in that time I have seen the incredible impact this charity has had for many families. The Children's Burns Club creates opportunities for volunteers, families and young people who have been through some tough times following a life changing injury or illness to share their experiences with each other, and the impact this has is immeasurable. It is important to ensure that these opportunities continue to be available, so please help me to help them.”

You can support Katherine by visiting her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/katherine-nutt

A big ‘thank you’ to those who are also running the London Marathon this year. We will be sharing their stories and training updates in the run up to the event.

•Emma Grafton: http://www.justgiving.com/EmmaGrafton

•Andrew Hughes: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-hughes31

•Jessica Mason: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jessicamason87

•Chrissie Brice: www.justgiving.com/ChrissieBrice

•Ian Edwards: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-edwards28

End of Treatment Bell Ceremony

December 23

Children’s oncology team launches series of initiatives to tell young patients’ stories of “strength, honour and hope”

The children’s oncology team at Broomfield Hospital has launched a series of initiatives to improve young patients’ experience in hospital and tell their stories of “strength, honour and hope.”

The children’s oncology unit has become the 125th unit to receive an ‘end of treatment bell’ internationally, kindly donated by Sarah and Victoria from Perfect 10 Beauty, alongside beginning to offer ‘beads of courage’, chemotherapy ducks and colourful hospital pyjamas with designs to engage children.

Two patients, Oscar Roberts and Phoebe White, attended the official launch event with their families on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the children’s outpatients department, where the audience witnessed the emotional moment that they celebrated the end of their course of treatment, spanning more than two or three years.

Dr Ranjith Joseph, consultant paediatrician and oncology lead, said: “This signals the end of Oscar and Phoebe’s long journeys in their treatment.

“The beads of courage programme, sponsored by charity Be Child Cancer Aware, catalogues our patients’ journeys – every bead tells a story of strength, honour and hope. The chemotherapy ducks and hospital pyjamas make our young patients’ time in hospital more fun-filled and interesting.

“The children received purple hearts and certificates along with special certificates for their siblings and beads, plus a bottle of champagne for their parents to mark the occasion.

“I am extremely grateful to the charities who donated us the bell, the beads of courage, chemotherapy ducks and the hospital pyjamas, and the staff nurses and play specialists who have worked on it.” 

Colleagues from across the hospital attended the event, with Lyn Hinton, director of nursing, lighting the lamp and Dr Rachel Thomas, deputy oncology lead, beginning the event with a prayer. Dr Ellie Makings, medical director, then asked everyone to close their eyes and make a wish as she cut the ‘end of treatment’ cake.

This was followed by the official launch of the programmes and presentations to the families. The children then recited the poem signalling the end of their treatment and rung the bell.

Dr Joseph also thanked Oscar Roberts’ family and friends for their generous donation of £550 worth of vouchers from Smyths, which will be used to buy toys for both Phoenix Ward and the children’s outpatients department. In addition, the family donated three iPads to Phoenix Ward to replace one that was broken, which Dr Joseph described as “a great way to kick-start the oncology children’s cancer charity fundraising.” 

Children’s Oncology Fundraising Appeal

Dr Joseph said: “There is a dedicated team at Broomfield Hospital looking after children and families with different kinds of cancer and there is a lot more that can be done to improve the way care is delivered. For parents, hearing the news that their child has cancer is unbearably painful. Indeed, it is often worse for them than the child, and it is important to help the family through the worst of times. 

“The children’s cancer team at Broomfield would like to do more locally to raise funds and awareness. This will begin with a cake sale, followed by other fundraising ventures. If anyone would like to donate to the children’s cancer charity fund, please contact fundraising coordinator Charlotte Jefcoate on 01245 514860 or fundraising@meht.nhs.uk.”

There will be three more children finishing treatment in the new year who will also have similar ceremonies to mark the end of their cancer treatment.  

Six-year-old Oscar Roberts’ Story

Oscar’s mum, Laura, said: “Oscar was diagnosed on September 4, 2014 at the age of three.

“He had been poorly beforehand but I never really thought anything of it until he started complaining of stomach pain and was sleeping and limping a lot. I went to the doctors who referred me to Broomfield who explained that his spleen and liver was enlarged so needed to stay in for blood tests. 

“That evening they asked me to come outside and we went into a small room where two doctors explained to me about his white blood cells and I just didn't really understand what they were saying at the time, it wasn't going in so I just asked “what are you trying to tell me?”. Then they said, ‘Mrs Roberts, we think Oscar may have leukaemia.’ My world collapsed - not in a million years did I think my child would have cancer. You never think it will be yours.

“From here we were sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where they confirmed it with a bone marrow aspiration. Then we went straight into a massive, frightening roller coaster ride.

“He had a portacath fitted after a few days of being in GOSH as his little veins couldn’t take any more and neither could I, the pain of them trying to find veins for drips and taking bloods was too much - he was so upset, it was awful. He had to have blood transfusions and he was put on steroids. 

“Broomfield has been our main port of call and they have been fantastic. The nurses all look after Oscar when he has been there – he’s a little charmer.

“Doctor Thomas and Dr Joseph have been amazing; it’s like going to see family. They are so good with Oscar - it’s lovely and we going to miss them loads now. Debbie Whitehouse looked after Oscar and was the only nurse able to access Oscar’s port without him screaming and kicking off.

“Everyone has been fantastic and everyone knows us when we go to Phoenix Ward and the outpatients department.

“Ringing the bell was a long time coming and when he did it I can’t explain how it felt, I feel so happy but it’s like now everything is starting to sink in and it’s really emotional and I think we have been so lucky.

“Going forward from here we have a lot of making up to do and I intend to make the most of every day with my family, they are my whole wide world and when something like cancer affects you or your family it makes you realise no one is invincible as much as we think we can protect them when it’s out of your hands and there is nothing you can do you realise how precious life and they are. Never take things for granted and if you love someone, tell them every day.”   

Six-year-old Phoebe White’s Story

Phoebe’s parents said: “From a formerly healthy, happy girl who probably visited the GP twice in her life, during mid 2015 we returned to the GP many times over the course of a month with various symptoms, including extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, respiratory infections that would not go away, skin rashes and towards the end, a jaundice colouration.  

“Phoebe then collapsed on the street with a febrile convulsion. This was very frightening, as she had a seizure, her eyes rolled back in her head and bubbles came out of her mouth. She took quite some time to regain consciousness. After an ambulance ride to Broomfield a blood test very quickly determined that something was seriously wrong.  

“We then travelled by ambulance to Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge, where we received the terrifying news that Phoebe had leukaemia. Everything was a blur, and it was difficult to take the huge amounts of information in. Luckily there was a lot of support around, and written information to go through at a later date when our heads were clearer. The parents on the ward also provided invaluable support for one another, the whole way through the treatment process.   

“Phoebe remained a brave trooper throughout the whole treatment process. She was very trusting and willing to go through anything asked of her - we are very proud of her. We found that if we were honest with Phoebe and prepared her and supported her well, she would be willing to go through all sorts of painful and frightening procedures, with a minimum of fuss. We just had to give her time sometimes and the understanding and friendly approaches of many staff were a very important part of this. 

“The medical team, as well as inpatient and outpatient nursing team and play specialists, have always made Phoebe feel at home, welcome and well cared for. Many of them remember Phoebe’s name, as well as important parts of her life, which makes her feel at ease every time she returns to the hospital.  

“Our family have had mixed feelings about ringing the bell. Phoebe was very excited as she is very glad that her treatment has now ended. We, as her parents, are obviously glad of this also, but also anxious that she remains well and that this truly is the end of treatment for her. There are many difficult memories and feelings which get pushed down during treatment, in order to just get on with it, survive every day, and make Phoebe’s life as normal and enjoyable as possible during a very difficult time.” 

INFORMATION: For more information about the end of treatment bell ceremony, please follow this link: https://vimeo.com/244022783?ref=em-share.

Surgical Robot First Case
Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan with senior surgical fellow Mr Priyantha Siriwardana performing the procedure. Inset: Mr Kadirkamanathan at the console.

December 11

Consultant upper GI surgeon Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan carries out first operations using new “intuitive” surgical robot

Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan, consultant upper GI surgeon at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, has carried out his first operations using the new “intuitive” surgical robot, the da Vinci Xi.

The patients were two women in their 20s who suffer from gastroparesis. This condition led to them being unable to eat normally and vomiting on a daily basis. Both had lost a significant amount of weight and were experiencing difficulties with continuing their university education as a result. 

They underwent an operation to insert gastric pacemakers, involving intricate suturing of electrodes into the stomach. 

Mr Kadirkamanathan said: “The robot made it so much easier to perform the procedure. The robotic part of the procedure only took 30 minutes. The surgery was done through three, eight millimetre cuts. Both of the patients went home the next day.

“The use of the robot was very intuitive. It was very comfortable for the surgeon, easy to use, very precise surgery and a very good short-term outcome for the patients. I believe that robotic surgery will be the way that operations are carried out in the future.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics. 

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

 •0% perforation rate for Heller’s Myotomy (compared to 12% rate – European trial)

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects within recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

•Articulation beyond normal manipulation

•Naturally occurring tremors filtered out by computer software

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot.

Sarah Donachie eye gaze fundraising
Trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, (back row, centre) with Yvonne Carter, charities manager (second from left) and the MEHT team with the eye gaze machines.

December 8

Family raises more than £32,000 for equipment to help ‘locked in’ patients to communicate in memory of cherished husband and father

A family has raised more than £32,000 for equipment to help ‘locked in’ patients to communicate in memory of cherished husband and father Gerard Donachie.

Gerard, who was 39, suffered a massive brain stem stroke on November 17 last year and was ‘locked in’ for the two weeks prior to his death on December 1. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and two young sons, Callum and Fin. 

Following his passing, his family embarked on a fundraising mission in his honour. The equipment includes an eye gaze machine, which gives patients who are ‘locked in’ the ability to have their pupil movements tracked to a screen where they can select letters, words or phrases to improve their ability to communicate. 

Their endeavour was so successful that the GICU team were able to purchase a second eye gaze tracker, three iPads, a special reclining chair for patients, and other rehabilitation equipment. 

On Thursday, November 30, the Donachie family formally presented the eye gaze trackers to the hospital and were met by trust chairman Nick Alston CBE, DL, plus the ITU and Burns Unit teams at an event held at the Medical Academic Unit (MAU). It was an opportunity for the teams to express their deepest gratitude to the Donachie family for their kind fundraising and for them to see a demonstration of the machines that will help others. 

Sue Parrotte, senior sister on GICU, said: “Thank you to Sarah and her family, this will really benefit other patients and help them to communicate their needs to the nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and to their families.”

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, added: “It is truly astonishing that at such a difficult time, Sarah, her children and their family, plus their legions of supporters, have exceeded every fundraising target they set for the appeal.

“Their incredible kindness and thoughtfulness will help so many other patients and their families and we are immensely grateful.”

Clare Francis and Angela Hatchard donation
Angela, front row, far left, with Clare, front row, second from right, with their supporters and the chemotherapy unit team.

December 8

Sisters raise more than £2,000 for the chemotherapy unit in thanks for “exceptional” care

Two sisters have raised more than £2,000 for the chemotherapy unit with the support of their family and friends.

Clare Francis, 40, from Rayleigh, was inspired to embark on her fundraising journey after her sister, Angela Hatchard, 42, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year.

Clare had 17 inches of her hair cut off on July 27, for which her supporters rallied together to reach the fantastic fundraising total. She donated her hair to be used to make wigs for children who have suffered hair loss.

Angela has now completed her chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. 

Clare said: “What started as just an idea to support my sister through her treatment became a wonderful experience and it meant I could help other patients along the way too. The target was smashed on the first day and the donations came flooding in. We are overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and generosity and can't thank everyone enough.  

“The medical team are exceptional at what they do and it's quite obvious how much they really do care. It brought a tear to my eye, how they are willing Angela to beat this cancer, as they are for the rest of their patients.

“Angela and I both felt it was equally important to make as many people ‘breast aware’ as possible. Knowing our story has been shared, it's fair to believe that the understanding of ‘breast awareness’ has been well promoted. Given the feedback we've received, it makes us happy knowing that the message has been heard.”  

Angela added: “Initially finding out I had cancer came as such a shock and filled me with terror and fear for the future. But as I gradually digested this diagnosis, I felt I had a duty to talk about this and to remind women and men to be aware and to check themselves. 

“The staff at the chemotherapy unit have been totally amazing. They made my experience easier to cope with, often having a laugh and a joke. I can’t thank them enough.”  

INFORMATION: You can still support Clare and Angela via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/locks-and-locks-of-love

Discharge Lounge
Trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, with the Friends at Broomfield Hospital and MEHT colleagues at the opening of the discharge lounge.

December 7

Patients benefit from refurbished discharge lounge thanks to charitable donations

Patients who are awaiting discharge from hospital can now benefit from improved surroundings thanks to charitable donations.

On Monday, December 4, trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, attended an event to officially open the discharge lounge, alongside colleagues from across the trust.

The Friends at Broomfield Hospital donated £10,000 to the renovation project, with a further £5,000 from monies given to ‘Our Charity’. 

The room has been updated with new, comfortable reclining chairs and tables and has been decorated with artwork depicting local scenes, painted by Hatfield Peverel Art Group member Jim Cole. The titles of the pieces are Canal Boat Rocky’s Roost at Sandford Mill, Pump Cottage on Writtle Green, Relaxing by the Stone Bridge, Castle Hedingham Station on the Colne Valley Railway, Canoeing on the River Chelmer, Chelmsford City High Street on a Wintry Day, Costa Therapy at Broomfield Hospital and Walking the Dog at Hylands Park. Hilary Treadwell, of Springfield, has kindly donated a selection of blankets.

The money has also been used for patient amenities, magazines and refreshments.

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, said: “Thank you to the Friends at Broomfield Hospital and to our generous donors for your contributions to this wonderful project.

“It is fantastic that with your support, we have been able to refurbish the discharge lounge and make it a much more pleasant environment for people leaving hospital.”

Debbie Brewer
Debbie Brewer

November 23

Patient Story: Robotic Surgery Has Changed My Life Completely

Debbie Brewer, 43, from Chelmsford 

“My first symptoms started on April 2 this year. I was eating lunch but could keep nothing down. It was really strange because I didn't feel ill or nauseous at all. After a few days of sometimes being able to eat kind of normally and other times not at all, I saw a doctor at my GP surgery. She wanted to test for a stomach infection, but due to some medication I was on this couldn't be done for another two weeks. In the meantime, the symptoms continued. I still didn't feel ill, but I was really struggling to keep any food down, just things like scrambled eggs and yoghurt. Obviously I was losing weight pretty quickly and had very little energy. 

“I went back and saw a different GP. On describing my symptoms she immediately suggested it could be achalasia – quite a rare condition – and referred me to a gastroenterologist. I was booked in for an endoscopy at the beginning of May but by this time I was also having difficulty keeping fluids down and was very dehydrated. As a result of this, about a week before the endoscopy I had to go to A&E – they put me on fluids overnight which helped me feel better. 

“The endoscopy showed that the sphincter between my oesophagus and stomach was very tight but the gastroenterologist couldn't be sure that it was achalasia. It was at this stage he referred me to Mr Kadirkamanathan. As soon as I met Mr Kadirkamanathan, I felt confident that he could diagnose my condition and hopefully fix it. He sent me for a CT scan to rule out anything else pressing on my oesophagus and when that came back clear, he sent me to the Royal London Hospital for a test called an oesophageal manometry test. This test is apparently the gold standard in diagnosing achalasia and which type. 

“The test confirmed I had type two achalasia and Mr Kadirkamanathan talked me through my options which included balloon dilation, botox injections or surgery. Given how severe my symptoms had become so quickly I decided to go ahead with surgery as it offered the best long-term solution. Mr Kadirkamanathan explained that the operation involved cutting the muscles of the sphincter so that it was permanently relaxed, thereby allowing food to pass into my stomach. He told me that the main risk was accidently perforating the oesophagus, which could lead to severe complications. Mr Kadirkamanathan said that the best way to reduce this risk was to do the surgery robotically so that there was much greater precision. 

“My operation was scheduled for June 21. By this time I had lost three stone in weight and had very little energy - I hadn't eaten in weeks and was struggling to keep even water down. Obviously l don't remember anything of the operation which was about four hours long but as soon as I woke up in recovery I knew I felt better – I was able to sip water without any problem at all and by the time I was back on the ward I was drinking water perfectly normally. 

“Mr Kadirkamanathan had told me that I would notice the difference immediately, but I was really surprised at how well I felt straight after the operation. The following lunchtime I was able to have soup, which tasted amazing. I was discharged later that day and had the following week off work to recover and build my strength up again. I stuck to soft foods such as soups, fish, and mashed potato for the first week or two, but my appetite was back to normal very quickly and now five months later there isn't anything that I avoid eating.

“As Mr Kadirkamanathan says, I will always have achalasia, but the surgery he was able to perform using the robotic technique has changed my life completely – I’m able to go out with friends and family now feeling totally confident that I can share a meal with them without being worried that I might get sick. As soon as I met with Mr Kadirkamanathan, I had total confidence in his ability to make me better again. His interest in my particular condition and his passion to learn more about it and develop new techniques for treating it were very evident. The use of robotic equipment to perform the surgery meant that I had just an overnight stay in hospital and a very short recovery time afterwards. I was truly amazed given how ill I had been feeling for months that I felt 100% better as soon as I woke up from the operation and there have been no on-going issues at all.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics. 

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

 •0% perforation rate (compared to 12% rate across the world)

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects within recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

•Articulation beyond normal manipulation

•Naturally occurring tremors filtered out by computer software

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot.

Opening of the Second Dementia Garden
Attendees celebrate the opening of the second dementia garden.

November 23

Staff, dignitaries and volunteers gather to celebrate the opening of the second dementia-friendly garden

Staff, dignitaries and volunteers gathered to celebrate the opening of our second dementia-friendly garden on Saturday, November 18.

More than 50 people, including the Mayor of Chelmsford Duncan Lumley, Essex County Councillor John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, and a representative from the Friends at Broomfield Hospital, attended to mark the occasion at the ‘Live-Well Garden’, outside Baddow Ward. 

The new sensory garden, which builds on the huge success of the ‘Forget-Me-Not Garden’ at neighbouring Braxted Ward, provides a therapeutic outside environment for patients and visitors to enjoy. 

The garden was funded via charitable donations of £50,000. 

More than 40 volunteers, including many staff members, assisted with the construction of the garden over in excess of 220 hours throughout the summer.

In total, 50 tonnes of soil and shingle, plus thousands of plants have been moved. The garden was cleared and fully developed within the space of six months. 

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, said: “This demonstrates the value that ‘Our Charity’ adds to patient and carer experience around our trust and that we really couldn’t fund projects such as this one without the generosity of all those that support ‘Our Charity’.”

Elmarie Swanepoel, estates and facilities site manager, said: “We are keen to provide a high-quality environment for people with dementia whilst they are in hospital. The health benefits of spending time in therapeutic outside environments are well-documented and we are thrilled to be able to open this beautiful garden. 

“This garden, along with various other green spaces at the hospital, has only been made possible through charitable donations and will be maintained by our wonderful hospital garden volunteers. We are grateful for the generous support of everyone who has been involved with this project.”

The garden can be viewed from inside, within the central corridor of levels 2, 3 and 4 Zone C, West Wing. If you are walking down these routes, you can view this area alongside the first garden on the opposite side. 

For further information, please contact: 

Yvonne Carter, charities manager


01245 514559

Elmarie Swanepoel, estates and facilities site manager


01245 515230

Perometer Donation

November 1

Friends at Broomfield Hospital kindly donate £10,000 to help purchase equipment to measure limb volume

The Friends at Broomfield Hospital have kindly donated £10,000 to help fund a piece of equipment which is used to assess lymphoedema. 

On Wednesday, October 18, the perometer was installed at the St Andrews Centre gym and will benefit patients suffering from the chronic condition. The remainder of the almost £23,000 cost was met by the department. 

It assists clinicians to measure the swelling of the limb, caused by a collection of fluid in the body’s tissues. The condition develops when the lymphatic system, which helps to fight infection and remove excess fluid, does not work properly. It is often the result of cancer or cancer treatment. 

The perometer functions using photosensors and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with which the limb is illuminated and scanned. The actual measuring unit is installed in the frame, which is pushed over the limb.  

Following staff training, the perometer will now be brought into use. 

Mr Mat Griffiths, consultant plastic surgeon, said: “We are very grateful to the Friends at Broomfield Hospital, who have greatly assisted our fundraising efforts which will benefit patients by allowing our therapist, Annette Palmer, to measure limb volumes far more accurately and efficiently than by using a standard tape measure technique.”

Head and neck cancer fundraising event

October 17

Head and neck cancer team “overwhelmed by the generosity” of the patients, family members and friends who supported them to raise more than £7,500 through charity evening

The head and neck cancer team are “overwhelmed by the generosity” of the patients, family members and friends who supported them to raise more than £7,500 through their charity evening.

Held at the Danbury Sports and Social Centre on Saturday, September 23, the fundraising event was an opportunity to help bring patients together who have undergone operations for mouth cancer while enjoying music, food, a raffle and an auction.

The project was organised by members of the head and neck cancer team alongside patient Dwayne Watkin, who had a procedure to remove and reconstruct a large part of his tongue in March this year.

Dr Sarah Smailes, a physiotherapy consultant who helps patients to rehabilitate following operations for mouth cancer, said: “As you can imagine, a person’s ability to speak and swallow is affected by such an operation. After weeks in hospital Dwayne said that he would like to “do something” to thank all of the staff on Stock Ward at Broomfield for getting him through the surgery and making him better.

“Dwayne, Stock Ward nurse Leah Maskell and I talked about this and decided that we would hold a charity evening to help bring patients together who have had these huge disfiguring operations, raise much needed money to help future patients with mouth cancer and raise awareness of the disease.

“After months of planning, we held the first ever (in Essex) head and neck cancer charity evening, which was attended by more than 200 people. So many patients who have suffered with mouth cancer came to support each other and the cause. It was a humbling experience for all of us who work at the Broomfield head and neck cancer unit. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of so many patients, family members and friends to raise more than £7,500 in one evening – it was amazing.

“We plan to use the money to buy tablets so that people who cannot speak after their surgery will be able to communicate more easily and for equipment to make breathing more comfortable for patients with tracheostomies. We would also like to hold education evenings where patients can drop in for support and information about their operation and cancer, which will need money for refreshments.

“Thank you to all who supported the evening, especially Leah Maskell and Barbara Pires (Dwayne's nurses), Mr Fateh Ahmad and Miss Kallroi Tzafetta (Dwayne's plastic surgeons) who helped Dwayne and I so much in preparation and on the night.”

Mark Mitchell Donation

October 4

Son raises more than £600 for Danbury Ward in thanks to the “supportive, helpful and accommodating” staff who cared for his late mother

A son has raised £640 for Danbury Ward in thanks to the “supportive, helpful and accommodating” staff who cared for his late mother.

Mark Mitchell, 35, of Oakham, in Rutland, organised a golf day with other professionals from the insurance industry, with proceeds going to the ward, after losing his mother, Lillian Mitchell, to cancer on February 4.

He said: “My mum was on the ward for around three weeks, having fought cancer for almost two years, which were unfortunately her last.  My father and I spent four nights sleeping on the ward and saw first-hand the hard work, care and professionalism that went into caring for patients on the ward.

“It was particularly warming to hear that the ward had a particular piece of equipment - a bladder scanner - in mind for the money to go towards.  

“Having not had much direct exposure to the NHS previously, I have come to appreciate what an incredible institution it is and something to be truly proud of. Everyone my family and I dealt with or came into contact with during my mother's time there was incredibly supportive, helpful and accommodating. Danbury Ward and its staff should be truly proud of what they do for their patients day in, day out.”


Mark also thanked fellow golf day organisers Rob Pearman and Hugh Sprowson for their support.