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Supporting Team ASPH

James A Thomas

James A Thomas
Chief Operating Officer


Over the past few weeks the discussions amongst many of us are about holidays we are having or indeed would have had and about how challenging the last six months has been. Most of us admit to at best being tired.

The last six months has without doubt been one of the most challenging periods for NHS hospitals in a generation. It was a period of significant change and adaption at considerable pace. We moved wards and services, changed working patterns and supported one another in ways we have never been required to previously.

Many of you did and still continue to be working in varying levels of PPE caring for patients often in challenging scenarios set against a backdrop of many other pressures. Regardless of what and where we are in the organisation working in our hospitals during a global pandemic and national lockdown has been hard. Many of you are experiencing the resultant impact of the Covid pandemic so far and now working equally as hard on restoring our services back to pre-Covid levels.


I continue to be in awe of the range of changes, innovations and support to the most pressured areas our teams provided. At every level we experienced teams coming together to support one another and to provide outstanding care to our patients in challenging circumstances. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to every member of Team ASPH for the contribution you have made during Covid and continue to make to ensure our patients are safe and that we continue to provide the services they need. I am extremely proud to be part of Team ASPH and never more proud than being part of the fantastic efforts made across our hospitals during the events of this year. It has been physically and emotionally challenging. Thank you.

Consideration of the extreme challenges over the last six months takes us to consider how we need to prepare for what lies ahead. The most important thing we all can do during the summer is to look after ourselves and each other. We have all not only worked extremely hard but we have had all to deal with the national lockdown in our own personal lives as well as the professional. We cannot underestimate the impact this has had and will be different but challenging to us all. Many of us have seen our holiday plans for this year changed or lost and for some this will mean a much awaited trip oversees to see family having been cancelled. It is, however, extremely important that we still take time away from work to recharge. This is something each of us must commit to. Please do ensure you and your teams are taking leave now and in the coming weeks.

To support the ongoing wellbeing of staff, both before and during the active stage of Covid, the Trust set up a number of wellbeing support options for colleagues to access. These ranged from on-line resources on our dedicated Wellbeing Covid pages to 1-1 staff psychological support, where staff could have the opportunity to speak to someone either from our in-house psychology team, or from our Staff Wellbeing Chaplain and Freedom to Speak-up Guardian. We are continuing to develop our wellbeing offer and have just launched a Wellbeing Survey which is asking for your comments on the support you received throughout recent months and what you would like to see the Trust offer in the future.

Once again my sincere thanks for the efforts in caring for our patients and each other during the Covid pandemic. Please do take time now to look after yourselves and one another.

Thank you.

James Thomas
Chief Operating Officer


Creating a COVID Safe Environment

Tom Smerdon

Tom Smerdon
Director of Strategy and Sustainability


You may recall back in June Louise wrote a message about safety at work and the new guide and checklist produced to help teams assess their workspaces and make any necessary changes to create a "Covid safe" environment.

We know that some teams have made great progress with this and are working in new, safe and often innovative ways. However, we also recognise that some teams are yet to carry out their assessment and others have found it difficult to identify workable solutions.

We must change this and in particular ensure all colleagues are complying with the principles below:

  • The rules to follow are not optional.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to maintain social distancing, at a minimum of two metres, at all times.
  • Where this isn't possible you must seek an alternative, for example work in another space, work remotely and / or wear a mask and other appropriate PPE.


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Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr David Fluck

Dr David Fluck
Acting Chief Executive


Welcome to this week's message. I have been on leave this past week but before I went, I attended an important and inspiring Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) virtual event, which was hosted by Surrey Heartlands and focused on race.

Nearly 100 people from across the partnership organisations attended and took part in discussions which informed meaningful actions to improve experiences of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workforce and local community.

At ASPH we are proud of our diverse workforce and have an active BAME network, which meets on a regular basis to discuss ideas and actions to support staff. The Black Lives Matter campaign has mobilised support from all sections of the Trust's workforce, significantly increasing support and membership of our BAME staff network and a call to action to raise awareness of and response to issues relating to race. A number of taskforce groups are being established in order to do this. Allies are very welcome to attend these sessions.

I thought you'd be interested in some of the key messages shared at the EDI conference:


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A Guide to the Non-Executive Directors

Andy Field

Andy Field


David has kindly lent me the message this week as in similar way to last week's message which focused on the executive team, I thought it would be useful to provide an update on the roles and responsibilities of the Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) who sit on the ASPH NHS Foundation Trust Board.

As Chairman, my role is to ensure the Board as a whole is effective in its governance and decision making, with a focus on our strategy, assurance that we are being run safely, effectively and efficiently and setting the right culture in accordance with our 4Ps values. Another large part of my role is to represent the Trust externally, both across the local and regional health and care systems and also working with the local authorities and NHS representative bodies. I also chair the Council of Governors and through this, stay close to the views and experiences of both the Governors and Trust members. The other NEDs each bring different skills and interests to the table and these are reflected in the roles they have within our Governance structure.


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Chief Executive's Message

On a regular basis, our Chief Executive sends a message to staff about events at the hospitals, special achievements, and plans for the future.

We shall be adding them to this section as well as including them on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

From time to time, we shall ask other members of the Trust Board and clinical team to give their perspective on the week in our hospitals.