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August News 2016

Junior Doctors 2016 Web

26 August


Junior doctors recount their initial weeks in their new roles

Two junior doctors who began their training with us at the beginning of the month have spoken about their “exciting” and “amazing” experience so far.

Olivia Benson and Jessica Wright, both first year junior doctors at Felsted Ward, recounted their first few weeks in their posts.

They have faced both successes and challenges as they adapt to their new roles and put their medical training into practice.

Dr Benson, 23, from Witham, said: “The consultants are really nice and the nurses all look after us.

“The last few weeks have been a learning curve, with lots of firsts. The highlight has been being appreciated by patients and their families.

“It has been tiring, exciting and I learnt lots. I reckon I have learnt more in the last two weeks here than I did in medical school.”

There have also been moments of humour – such as when a patient asked Dr Benson if she had got the day off school to visit the hospital – and getting lost around the hospital site.

However, Dr Benson, who completed her training at the University of East Anglia, said that there have been difficulties. These include adjusting to the responsibility of being on call and attending to two patients who had a cardiac arrest on her first day. She also had to explain the condition of a man who is terminally ill to his family.

She added: “I have always known I would like to be a doctor, there's a picture of me at 18 months with a stethoscope around my neck, playing doctor.”

Dr Wright, 25, from Chelmsford, who trained at the University of Warwick, said: “It is strange being the person that patients’ families speak to, but I have had some really nice conversations with them.

“I was on call during my first weekend and a patient suddenly deteriorated - being the first person there was scary, but now I have experienced that. The training does kick in.

“After a couple of deaths on the first day, we went to the morgue. I had to deal with death and that was quite difficult, but I do know it is part of the job and it will get easier - even the second time it was easier.”

She explained that in addition to the challenges she has encountered, there has been plenty to enjoy about her new job.

“It has been really fun - everyone is really friendly and the other F1s are really nice. My consultant, Dr Lawson, is amazing, really approachable and I don’t feel stupid asking any questions.

“Overall it has been amazing, I have waited a long time to do it and I have finally got there.”

The junior doctors’ training will be split into two years spent working as a foundation doctor, moving roles every four months. This will be followed by speciality training – Dr Benson would like to be a GP and Dr Wright would like to practice obstetrics and gynaecology.

Reef Cowell fundraising for sister

24 August 

Teenager raises more than £1,000 for children’s ward as thanks for helping his younger sister


A teenager has topped his £1,000 fundraising target for the children’s ward that supports his younger sister with a condition that prevents her from eating or drinking safely.

The Phoenix Ward team and fundraising group including Reef (first full row, second from right, and his sister Shai, front).  

Reef Cowell, 16, of Warwick Square, Chelmsford, worked with a group of eight other youngsters to raise money for the Phoenix Ward at Broomfield Hospital during the National Citizen Service – reaching a total of £1307.68.

He explained that Shai, who is six, has a laryngeal cleft – a hole in the back of her throat which means that she must be nourished and hydrated via a machine for up to 15 hours a day. She also has esophageal dysmotility and gastroparesis – preventing the effective digestion of food. In addition, her breathing is impaired by chronic lung disease.

Reef, who is now about to start his A level studies at Great Baddow High School, said: “The experience has been very enjoyable and rewarding – an effort achieved by all nine of us.

“It has made me realise that we take life for granted as there are people who suffer daily. Therefore, we chose to help out as much as we could, ranging from bake sales to quiz nights. We have worked so hard to reach our goal and we exceeded it by £300 so it was a brilliant effort from the team.

“I believe this whole experience has made me feel better about myself and I feel like I have accomplished something that has helped someone other than me.”

INFORMATION: To donate, please visit http://tinyurl.com/h7zds5j

24 August

Trust to promote healthcare support on offer to the community at showcase

The Trust is to host a healthcare exhibition to raise awareness about the services on offer from voluntary and community organisations.

In total, 47 groups will gather in the atrium at Broomfield Hospital to speak about their work with patients, carers and other visitors on Thursday, September 15.

There will be a wide variety of stands representing organisations from across Mid Essex where the community will be able to learn more about the healthcare assistance available to them.

The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Patricia Hughes, will open the event – the third year that we have hosted it at the hospital. It is a joint project between the Trust and the Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action.

Professor Sheila Salmon, Chairman of the Trust, said: “We are delighted to compound the success of last year’s Showcasing Healthcare Event by once again hosting it at Broomfield Hospital.

“It is an opportunity for us to work in conjunction with our friends in the voluntary sector to make the health services that are available to the community more widely known.

“There are numerous benefits to attending the event, including support with managing a variety of long-term health conditions.

“After the showcase, we will be hosting our Annual General Meeting. You are welcome to come along and engage with the Trust at both events.”

Lorraine Jarvis, Chief Officer at Centre Supporting Voluntary Action said: “Following last year’s phenomenal success we were delighted to have been invited by the hospital to work with them again.

“The event will once again provide a unique opportunity to showcase dozens of charities that work to support the health and wellbeing of local people; do come along and find out how they can help you or your family members.”

INFORMATION: The Showcasing Healthcare Event will run from 11am-4pm. It is open to the public and there is no entry fee. All are also welcome to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which will be held in Lecture Theatre 1 at the Medical Academic Unit (near the south entrance) from 6.30pm-8pm. 

Mr Siddiqi 150th Robot Operation

August 23 2016

Consultant colorectal surgeon undertakes 150th operation with robotic technology

A consultant has reached a major milestone by carrying out his 150th operation using the surgical robot at Broomfield Hospital.

Colorectal surgeon Dr Shahab Siddiqi, who has worked at the Trust for five years, performed a modified Orr-Loygue rectopexy to treat pelvic organ prolapse on Wednesday, August 17 – his 150th procedure using the robot.

His area of expertise involves procedures to treat conditions including rectal and colon cancer, other forms of rectal problems, and prolapses of the male and female reproductive system.

The £1.3 million robot was purchased six years ago and features four arms which can be manipulated from a remote system with pedals, a camera and directional controls. The full scope of surgical instruments can be attached to the arms in order to carry out procedures. Its precision is demonstrated by its minimal movements – Dr Siddiqi explained that six centimetres moved on the controls equals just one centimetre of movement of the robot. It also has a facility which prevents tremors of the hand from being replicated on the equipment.

Additionally, the robot is used within the Trust for intricate work such as treating gastric and stomach cancers and gastric pacing. In total, the equipment has been utilised for more than 500 operations.

Dr Siddiqi said: “The instruments on the robot mimic the human hand. The things I can do with my hand I can do robotically – in fact I can do more. The work I am capable of robotically I wouldn’t possibly attempt laparoscopically.

“There is far more precision and I’m not dependent on an assistant with a camera. With the robot, I control the camera, which is 3D.

“The operation that I do for prolapses has now been adopted as the gold standard operation – I have taken that a step further. Using the robot has allowed me to increase my knowledge.

“Patients do well – there is no more increase in pain. I can do more extensive surgery and with better outcomes. I wouldn’t operate without it.”

He hopes that the Trust will soon be able to purchase a new robot, as recent models feature HD cameras and state-of-the-art technology. In future, he expects that robot technology will become more prevalent in surgery, thus reducing the cost per unit by as much as half.

Robert Lee Bird

August 18 2016

Robert Lee-Bird accepts role as new chairman of the Patient Council

Robert Lee-Bird has been appointed as the new chairman of the Patient Council at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust. 

Mr Lee-Bird, 63, who is also the founder of the Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Support Group which meets at Broomfield Hospital, took up the post on July 4. He replaces previous chairman Steve Tupper and will be supported in his role by vice-chairmen Paul Foulger and Ray Berris.

He is appealing for new members to join the council and help support his “fantastic core team” with their work talking to patients and collating information. They can give as little or as much time as they wish to and do not need to be a patient or have a particular background or experience.

Mr Lee-Bird, of Arterial Road, Leigh-on-Sea, is married with two children and three grandchildren. In addition to this voluntary role, he works full-time as a production manager for a saw mill and fence panel production company.

He was inspired to become chairman of the Patient Council after undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer at Broomfield Hospital last year. The disease is now in remission, although he still requires medical care for some complications of the surgery to remove his oesophagus.

He said: “It’s my mission to raise the profile of the Patient Council and get out into the community. We want to look at the experience of people coming through the door. We need to make the Patient Council completely responsible to every single user of the Trust’s services.

 “I looked at the hospital, I looked at the treatment and the care I got and thought I have got to give something back for this – I need to help whoever I can.

 “I have had a good life, a varied career and nothing compares to this - making patients’ experiences better.”


Dr Effie Liakopoulou and team
Dr Effie Liakopoulou and team

August 12 2016


Consultant haematologist at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust prepares to trek across the desert to advance world healthcare


Traversing the barren terrain of the Sahara Desert is an arduous challenge – which consultant haematologist Dr Effie Liakopoulou will undertake as the next step in her mission to improve global health.

Dr Liakopoulou, who turned 50 in June, will mark her milestone year by trekking for six days along the Moroccan-Algerian border with a group of nine other professionals in aid of The Royal College of Pathologists.

She will be joined by her husband, Dr Raimund Peter, 56, a scientist who works on developing drugs to treat cancer. It will be the latest in an extensive history of extreme physical challenges the couple have completed together during their 17-year marriage, from canyon walking to mountain climbing.

The event will take place from October 22-29 – with two days allocated for travelling. Accompanied by a team of Berber guides, camels and a 4x4 for extra support, the team will trek through the arid desert dunes during the day and camp each night under the stars in the Moroccan wilderness. The couple will end the trip by celebrating their wedding anniversary on October 31.

Dr Liakopoulou said: “As a doctor, my heart is in improving human health at all levels. I have worked internationally and I know the needs of different countries and different populations vary, even within the same country.

“However, research and skills can become transferable human knowledge and understanding. The solutions we implement could lead to a substantial element of improvement for countries in the developing world and for those that have already developed.”

Together with her supportive team at MEHT, so far Dr Liakopoulou has raised £2,629.63 of her £4,000 target. Her fundraising drive, which has included a cake sale, will culminate in an afternoon tea to be held at Marygreen Manor Hotel in Brentwood from 1pm on Saturday (August 13). The prize draw features a host of luxury gifts and experiences such as a golf day, spa treatment and a holiday in Greece.

Her preparation for the challenge has already begun – she runs regularly and plans to increase the distances and frequency of her training from the end of this month.

She said: “The challenge is a cleansing experience of challenging yourself both physically and emotionally.

“It will be about finding the strength within yourself to continue when you lose your target.

“The best is to come – I need a little pause then I will go full speed. I think this will be a life-changing experience and I am looking forward to it.”

Dr Liakopoulou will dedicate this trek to her sister Georgia for all of her help in life, to all those who have supported her, and to her patients. It is especially in honour of her colleague at the University of Washington, Professor Tony Blau - a man who is dedicated to the global fight against cancer and who is himself undergoing stem cell transplantation.

INFORMATION: To book tickets or for more information about the afternoon tea event, please contact Jodie Nightingill by email at jodie_nightingill@hotmail.com


Lauren Paulton donation NNU Aug 2016
From left, student midwife Stephanie Warnes, McKenzie, Michaela, Louise, Max, Madeline, Hannah and student midwife Katie Maxwell.

August 2 2016

Family tips fundraising total for the Neonatal Unit at Broomfield Hospital to more than £1,000

A Great Dunmow family has made a generous donation to the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust’s charity, bringing their fundraising total for the Neonatal Unit at Broomfield Hospital to four figures.

Louise Poulton presented a cheque for £250 to the charities team on Monday (August 1) with her daughters Hannah Poulton, Michaela Parker, and Michaela’s three children Madeline, 4, Max, 3, and McKenzie, 2. 

She was inspired to raise the money for the unit after McKenzie was born eight weeks early, weighing 4lb 4oz – soon dropping to just 2lb 6oz.

Michaela said: “They were there constantly checking every five minutes – if I needed anything, they were there. They were the same towards everybody in the family; they were so flexible about visiting times because I had two other children at home and couldn’t drive after my emergency C-section.

“McKenzie is thriving and he’s slowly catching up. It was 24/7 care – they ended up like another family.”

Since his birth, Louise has offered display space in the Great Dunmow art gallery she owns – Gallery on the Park – in return for a donation to the Neonatal Unit. Artists pay £10 a week for a two-week slot, plus they are required to donate 15 per cent of the selling price they achieve, helping her to reach her £1,125 total raised for the charity.

Louise said: “We display work by artists in different mediums, giving people an opportunity to promote their work. Some of the regulars do also give an extra donation to the charity on top of the £10 per week, per artist.

“The work that people do on the ward is amazing. Michaela had two other children at home and they really were doing a lot of extra care in our situation.”

The family gave special thanks to the whole of the Neonatal Unit team for their support with McKenzie’s care.


Dawn Waples Cardiac Aug 2016

August 1 2016


Cardiac nurse at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust achieves first class degree while working full-time


Juggling the demands of a career and family life is a challenge for us all – which cardiac nurse Dawn Waples took in her stride while working towards her first class degree. 

She was awarded a BSc (Hons) in Acute Care from Anglia Ruskin University the week before last after two-and-a-half years of study combined with full-time work.

The qualification was an addition to her nursing diploma and has inspired her to forge ahead with the proposition she has collaborated on with her department to set up nurse-led atrial fibrillation clinics. If the business case is approved, care for patients with the condition – which causes an abnormality in heart rhythm – could be coordinated by the nurses on the ward. She hopes that this would result in patients being able to contact her directly for support and book longer appointment slots to discuss any concerns they may have. 

She said: “To complete the degree part-time while working and helping to look after my granddaughter Emily and grandson Charlie was full on – I didn’t have a day off.

“It was important for me – I’m embarking on a non-medical prescribing course in September and my ultimate goal is to set up the nurse-led atrial fibrillation clinics.”

Dawn has worked at Broomfield Hospital since qualifying as a nurse in 2005, spending her first year working in haematology. She gained experience on a cardiac ward and the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) before she was assigned to the Angio Suite in 2007.

She added: “I’ve stayed with Angio Suite because of the team, the work that we do and the doctors. We work really closely with the consultants and the registrars and they give us a lot of support.

“My plan was to try to get a first, but I was really surprised when I did. I know how hard it is to combine work, study and family life, but I want to support my colleagues to do it. I’ve said to them that I can help them to do this – I love teaching.”

Dawn gave special thanks to the whole of her team for their support, including the former senior ward sister Siobhain Foley, who encouraged her to study for her degree, and the incumbent senior sister, Daniella Bartlett, who authorised her study days and gave her assistance during the course.