In this week’s message, on behalf of Team ASPH, I would like to give a big welcome to the new FY1 (Foundation year 1) doctors who started with us this week. We hope you will enjoy your time at ASPH. I think we’re a friendly bunch and I hope you find this too.
Firstly let me say congratulations on passing your undergraduate training. You will have made your way to medicine through a variety of routes, but one thing is certainly true you will all have worked incredibly hard to have got to this point so very well done indeed you should be rightly proud. Now comes the next part of your training and education, where you will continue your learning, applying the knowledge you have into practice and of course be stretched and challenged in new ways.
We call ourselves Team ASPH because we really are one big team. As I go around the Trust talking to colleagues, volunteers, patients and visitors I experience our exceptional team spirit all the time. What I observe are colleagues who listen, value each other and are compassionate and it is important to me that you experience this as well as continue it.
We practice our values: Patients first, Personal responsibility, Passion for excellence, and Pride in our team, which are central to everything we do at Ashford and St Peter’s and trust that this resonates with each of you.
Our values are the foundation of the Trust Strategy for 2018-23, ‘Together we Care’, which sets our ambition ‘to provide an outstanding experience and best outcomes for patients and the team.’ You are now an incredibly important part of Team ASPH both as a team and also as individuals. You will find yourselves at the forefront of care and treatment delivery, responding to complex patient needs and forming part of a broad multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team. This is an exciting and important role and I encourage you to grasp the opportunity to learn and lead in the delivery of care and treatment but also and importantly help us to learn and improve as a team and an organisation. You have a powerful and influential role so please do use it to its fullest extent.
You will, of course, encounter challenges ahead. We are a very busy Trust, and getting busier every year. Like every other NHS organisation, there is a huge and growing demand for our services. Last year we saw 106,000 people in A&E, helped deliver 3,750 babies and treated 442,000 patients in outpatient clinics. The good thing for you is that you are joining Team ASPH at a very exciting time. We are starting our ambitious transformation plans to build new facilities and change the way we deliver services. In 2018-19 we treated 22,000 patients through virtual clinics. This is just the start of some of the changes you will see as you start your career as a doctor with us.
When you come face-to-face with challenges - as you will - please remember you are not alone and you are unlikely to be the first person to be dealing with the same issue. Your manager, your supervisor and your colleagues around you will often be your first port of call. Much better to seek help than to find yourself in difficulty, whether that be a patient treatment issue, a workload issue or a personal or resilience issue. We are all here to support you so please do connect into that support. All specialties have 24 hour 7 day a week consultant cover and supervision. In addition the Trust always has a nominated Senior Site Manager (SSM) and a Director on Call (DoC) who are available 24/7 for help and advice and can be contacted via the Trust switchboard. Some of the other supporting functions and mechanisms you have access to include:
- Exception reporting, which is specifically for doctors in training to report patient safety, rostering and training concerns. The lead for this is the Guardian of Safe Working, Dr Pardeep Gill.
- Freedom to Speak up Guardians - independent and impartial advice and support to all colleagues who want to raise a concern. The lead for this is Jacqui Rees.
- Datix – the system we use to report all incidents and near misses. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to use this system. I know it can feel onerous and sometimes it feels as if there is no response but we are working to improve responsiveness but it’s such an important learning and understanding tool to help us improve and promote safety, not just for you, but also patients and colleagues.
- Health and wellbeing – your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing are important to you as people but also as effective doctors as it has important links to patient and team safety. There is a range of information and advice on keeping well and where to go for support on our intranet.
- Rolling Teaching Programme – A programme of teaching that includes Practical Skills Teaching, Simulation, Leadership, Mindfulness, Resilience and Human Factors skills workshops. This is in addition to your Foundation Teaching and aims to support you in developing new skills. The leads for this programme are Dr Rob Menzies, Clinical Tutor and Angela Mongaudon, Head of Medical Education and Training.
Without doubt your time with us will have its challenges and there will be one or two bumps in the road but I genuinely hope that it will also be rewarding and enjoyable. Please lead, learn, make friends and have some fun. Most of all be kind to yourselves, be kind to your colleagues and each other and of course be kind to patients and their loved ones.
With best wishes