Membership Matters

Great turnout for our Annual Members Meeting

​We had a monumental turnout for this year’s Annual Members Meeting with close to 200 of our membership coming to see what the Royal has been up to this year.

The event began with a number of stalls, the focus of which was quality improvement to showcase some of the wonderful innovations, ideas and initiatives that resulted in the CQC re-rating us as ‘Good’.

It was a team effort, with the entire Trust working together to improve services. Stalls on display included the work done to diagnose and treat Sepsis as quickly as possible, our Critical Care Outreach Team who manage and assist in detecting deteriorating patients, the work done to involve carers in the treatment and care of their loved ones as inpatients and much more.

We also had four stalls outlining the work done on projects across the hospital. Our NGS Macmillan Unit was completed and opened to patients in June 2017 and our three year project to completely refurbish our Theatre Complex was completed in the summer. In addition we have just embarked on the expansion of our Emergency Department (ED), due to be completed in Spring 2018, and there was also information on the expansion of our Imaging Department which has already created a CT scanning suite to make room for an additional MRI scanner.
​There was a real buzz in the room with representatives from Theatres, ED, Infection Control, Patient Safety, Charitable Funds, Volunteer Services, Medical teams and Safeguarding answering questions from the public and talking about how their department makes a difference to patients. This part of the evening ran from around 5.30pm to 7.00pm when the formal part of the AMM took place, upstairs in our Education Centre.

The meeting began with a few words from our Chair, Helen Phillips, who introduced the Directors, Non-Executive Directors, Governors and CQC representatives to the room. Helen then handed over to our Lead Cancer Clinician, Roger Start who spoke about the new NGS Macmillan Unit and how it is already helping patients. He spoke anonymously about a male patient who had asked for help and that, thanks to the design and layout of the building, is able to get the assistance he needs all in one place. He also introduced a video, produced by the Trust, to thank all of our fundraisers for contributing to the Macmillan Appeal, including input from the National Garden Scheme - you can watch it by clicking here.
​Chief Executive Simon Morritt then took to the stage to give a presentation based on the Trust’s Annual Review of the year, April 2016 to March 2017. During this he thanked staff for their tireless efforts whilst explaining that demand for services was increasing, combined with an ageing population that is resulting in more patients presenting with complex needs. To put this into perspective, there are now half a million more people over the age of 75 in the UK than there were in 2010, in ten years’ time there will be two million more, a statistic that underlines the challenge being faced by the NHS as a whole.

Director for Nursing and Patient Care Lynn Andrews then spoke about the work done to achieve our ‘Good’ CQC rating which included achieving six of the seven cancer standards, remaining an exemplar site for Venous Thromboembolism, excellent Clostridium Difficile results and a 50 per cent reduction in the number of pressure ulcers recorded. Lynn 
​also outlined some of the things that we still need to address to become ‘outstanding’ before introducing Carolyn Jenkinson from the CQC who praised the Trust, saying “It was clear from what we saw that patient care is the first and foremost concern of the Executive Team. This is not a defensive organisation and the Royal is open to feedback and learning difficult lessons which was key to the work carried out following our first inspection in 2015. They want to listen, there are no excuses and it is an open and transparent Trust but this work needs to continue, be maintained and improved upon to achieve its aim.”

Public Governor Margaret Rotchell then went through some of the considerable achievements from the Council of Governors. This included the work they carry out through unannounced ward visits that replicates the sort of inspection that could be carried out by the CQC, their activity in capital projects and the support they give to the Prince’s Trust scheme and volunteer programme.
​Medical Director Gail Collins then spoke about the work being done by the Trust to quickly diagnose and treat Sepsis. This has become an NHS priority and the Trust now responds to a red flag diagnosis as a medical emergency, putting it in the same bracket as a heart attack in terms of how clinical teams will respond. A video detailing such a response was then played, you can watch it by clicking here.

The evening was then concluded with a vibrant and lively question and answer session, touching on capital funds, the implications of a possible lifting of pay caps, how the Trust plans for a potential flu epidemic and a wonderful question from one of our volunteers involving a request for a dishwasher to be installed in the NGS Macmillan Unit to ensure our patients are given spotlessly clean mugs. Dr Roger Start rose to the occasion and this has now been installed in the unit’s main kitchen area.

If you would like to be a part of the Trust’s membership and help to shape the Trust’s future then you can find out more on our website by clicking here. Alternatively you can call our Governor and membership Team on 01246 516449 or 01246 513217.


Membership get a sneak preview of the NGS Macmillan Unit

Around 120 of our membership accepted their invitation to come and take a tour of the new NGS Macmillan Unit on Saturday 6th May. The unit, expected to open to patients in early summer, will bring a number of the Trust's cancer outpatient services under one roof, including Haematology, Oncology, Chemotherapy and selected Medical Day Case activity.

The unit will provide 21 treatment chairs, two treatment beds and three treatment rooms, a significant increase from the current capacity on Cavendish Suite which has eight chairs. The unit also provides incredible views of the Derbyshire countryside for those receiving treatment, creating a calm and relaxing environment for our patients.

It is anticipated that services will be involved in a phased move from the June 2017 onwards. This will give the services a chance to acquaint themselves with the new surroundings and environment before another service joins them, allowing for a smoother transition. One thing is for sure and that is the level of excitement and anticipation is building  and gaining momentum with overwhelmingly positive feedback from the membership and staff who attended the open day.
​Denise Weremczuk is the Lead Public Governor and attended the open day on one of the tours, she said: “I’m on the Project Board for this unit and it’s quite a moment for me to see it develop from the initial plans on paper to be standing in what will be the chemotherapy suite. One of the things we were all very keen to see happen was to create a calming and relaxing environment for our patients. Add to that the wonderful views of the Derbyshire countryside that these patients will be able to see out of the windows and the patient experience will most definitely be improved. I’m very proud to be able to say that I’ve been involved with this project and very much looking forward to seeing it opened.”

There will be more information to come, including a video, as we edge closer to the day that it opens to our patients. You can view a slideshow of the open day and the inside of the unit above, you can also take a look at the photos individually in our gallery which you can view by clicking here

NGS Macmillan Unit: Membership Day - 6th May 2017

Two years ago this was the extent of the NGS Macmillan Unit development, an artist's impression based on designs submitted back in 2014.

Now the unit is very nearly finished and we're giving you, our membership, the chance to take a look inside the centre and talk to our cancer teams who will be working within it about the difference is will make to the way they are able to approach cancer treatment.

We are hosting an Open Day that will take place on Saturday 6th May when there will be half-hourly tours between 10am and 3pm, leaving every half an hour from our Relax@theRoyal facility, located at the rear of the hospital adjacent to the new unit. We hope that you will be able to take this opportunity to see the incredible space, views and atmosphere of the unit before it opens to patients.
If you would like to come to the Open Day then please call Cara Barber on 01246 516449 or Nicola Smith on 01246 513217 within our Governor and Membership team or email and book yourself for one of the following tours...
Tour 1: 10am - 11am
Tour 2: 10.30am - 11.30am
Tour 3: 11am - 12noon
Tour 4: 11.30am - 12.30pm

Tour 5: 1pm - 2pm
Tour 6: 1.30pm - 2.30pm
Tour 7: 2pm - 3pm

If you are coming by car then you will be able to use car park 7 at the back of the hospital free of charge and there will be someone there to direct you to Relax@theRoyal where there will be refreshments available. If you come by public transport then please follow the red arrows which will show you the way to Relax.
We are very excited to show off the new unit (pictured above, photo taken in early March 2017) which will have 21 treatment chairs, two treatment beds and three treatment chairs compared to the eight chairs currently available in Cavendish. It will also provide a range of outpatient services, a Macmillan Information and Support Centre to help patients through their treatment with regards to non-clinical aspects of life such as a welfare rights service and signposting to local support groups.

​It's anticipated that the new unit will open to patients by June 2017.


Governor Ward Visits - Looking After Our Patients

​Our Governors perform a wide range of services with the aim of ensuring that our patients receive the best quality care, including face to face discussions where they can talk about any issues with them personally. 

One of these services involves ward visits where Governors will go to a ward and talk with patients and staff about the environment and the treatment of our patients, typically by two of our Governors.

David Lyon is a Public Governor for Chesterfield and recently took part in a ward visit, he said; “It’s a really interesting part of the role because you get a genuine insight into the patient experience whilst also finding out what it’s like to work on the wards and how they care for their patients. It’s a very rewarding part of the duties of a Governor and one where we learn much more about the Hospital.  It is particularly important for Governors who have not been able to adopt a ward.
​“I was able to speak to the ward sister who was in charge on that particular day to make my presence known and explain what it was that I was doing. We’re usually made to feel very welcome and get the sense that what we do is appreciated. It probably makes a difference that we’re not employed by the Trust, we’re not going in with a rigid agenda so we do find that there is a high degree of honesty and openness in what we’re told and what we see`.
​Governors can approach any member of staff; on this particular visit David spoke to the sister in charge, a junior doctor, a healthcare assistant and another member of the nursing team as well as three patients. Questions are concentrated on areas of interest that may include ward staffing, safety of care issues, quality care treatment, organisation on the ward and how they interact with patients, patient diets and other related areas. Some of the questions apply to both patients and staff who will have different perspectives.  The vast majority of replies were positive.

David added: “It’s a true learning process for Governors because it gives us a much broader knowledge of the way wards work and some of the issues that they face. I think it’s also helpful to the wards because it offers another pair of eyes and it’s by no means a case of us looking for things that aren’t going to plan, we’re very keen to seek out the positives which can be shared between wards as examples of good practice.”

Our Public Governors are keen to stress that these visits are not inspections and that they will in some way prepare the wards for any other unannounced visits as the questions asked are very similar. It’s all done in a very unobtrusive way but the benefits of being able to do this on a regular basis are invaluable to patients in terms of being able to maintain standards across all inpatient wards. 


Membership Evening - Bowel Screening Programme

​More than 100 people made their way to the Royal’s Education Centre in October 2015 to find out more about our Endoscopy team and their involvement in the Bowel Screening Programme during another of our highly successful membership evenings. This latest evening was hosted by public governor for Derbyshire Dales and North Amber Valley Dr Grundman who is a retired gastroenterologist.

The programme was set up with one purpose in mind, the early detection of bowel cancer. As with most cancers, an early diagnosis results in a better chance of treatment and survival with fewer patients presenting with the disease at an advanced stage.

An invitation is sent out ahead of your 60th birthday which will be followed by the test kit a few weeks later and full instructions as to how to use it. If you would like to take part then simply follow the instructions and send back your sample, results will follow and if everything is normal this process will be repeated every two years.

Ian Fretwell is the Nurse Endoscopist who spearheaded the Royal’s involvement in the programme, he said: “Nationally around 98% of results are ‘normal’ with 2% invited to return for a colonoscopy because the test has picked up something ‘abnormal’. This doesn’t mean that the individual has bowel cancer. The test detects blood in faeces and colonoscopy will be able to detect any abnormality in the colon causing blood loss.
​“Causes of an abnormal result could be haemorrhoids, a benign polyp, a bowel disorder such as inflammatory bowel disease or it could be bowel cancer. From September 2014 to September 2015 we carried out 555 colonoscopies, in 330 of those an adenoma was detected and usually removed (benign polyps that, if left, may potentially become cancerous), in 183 there were other non-cancerous abnormal findings and 27 cases were diagnosed with bowel cancer.

“We would strongly advise people to take up the offer of a test because bowel cancer often does not cause symptoms until it is advanced and survival from cancer is improved the earlier this is detected. The Bowel Cancer Screening Programme has been demonstrated to detect bowel cancer at an earlier stage and sometimes early cancers can be removed during the colonoscopy without the need for surgery. Moreover removing adenomatous polyps prevents future development of cancers in many other patients.
​The programme starts at the age of 60 because epidemiological evidence suggests this is the age that bowel cancer starts to increase significantly. The all-inclusive programme ends at aged 74 but it is possible to opt in to the programme after this age.

Ian added: “Age is the biggest risk factor and the programme starts at 60 because this is the age at which the incidents of cancer sees a marked increase. Patients with other risk factors such as bowel disorders or digestive problems would most likely already be monitored by us and have regular endoscopy appointments.

“Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK with 40,000 new cases detected every year. This screening programme is one of the best tools we have in the early detection of bowel cancer and improving the chances of survival.”
​This was followed by a question and answer sessions during which the members raised very interesting questions about endoscopy in general and bowel cancer screening in particular whilst answers and explanations provided by the team were very well received. There were many positive comments from the members about their experience in Endoscopy as well as participation in the screening program.

To find out more about the Bowel Screening Programme and the Royal’s involvement please click on the arrow above to view our information video.

​Aileen Dawson-Pilling – End of an Era

​At the recent public governor elections we said goodbye to two of our longest serving governors, Bernard Everett and Aileen Dawson-Pilling, who both came to the end of their third and final terms. As we welcome new public governors we say goodbye to a great deal of experience, we caught up with Aileen to gather her thoughts about nine years on the Council of Governors.

What made you want to become a public governor?

I used to work at the royal as a theatre sister for 20 years, I was there when we moved to the site in Calow, and retired in 1993. I was at a public meeting where they said that they were looking for governors to work alongside the hospital and that if anybody was interested they should stay behind. I wanted to know more, liked what they told me put myself forward and nine years later I’ve completed my third and final term.

You got involved very quickly, joining a number of committees…

Yes, back then you were encouraged to join two committees almost straight away and I was drawn to the Corporate Citizenship Committee which involved looking at our carbon footprint and our own estate. It was very interesting because we were given tours of the underground system beneath the hospital, the maintenance corridors and the boiler room which were parts of the hospital I’d never even considered before. We did do a lot of work surrounding environmental issues, travel plans and the inner workings of the hospital which gave me a new appreciation of how the hospital operates.
​…and there was also the Patient and Public Involvement Committee.

That was one that I really enjoyed because it was looking at patients and visitors and how we could improve the patient experience. We would go on the wards and listen directly to what patients had to say about what was happening and they would raise any issues they had and also give praise where it was due. We could then feed that back to the wards and make a difference to how things were done. I’ve noticed a lot of positive change as a result of some of the work carried out by the PPI committee and, as a former nurse, it was great to have that patient contact again.
​Have you been involved on any project boards?

I know that the Council of Governors always have representation on project boards but it’s not something I’ve been involved in. I think you have to be fully committed to the project and some of the projects have been of personal interest to other governors so it was more appropriate for them to be involved. I would have loved to have been on the project board for research but unfortunately the opportunity never arose but I did have my hands full on the committees and often made an appearance at our various events, open days, membership evenings and promoting the role of the governors.

What have you most enjoyed?
​For me it’s the contact with patients and knowing that I represented my constituents in Chesterfield Borough and their interests. As I said before, as a former nurse it’s been great to keep that going and trying to make a difference to their care. But it’s not just the patients, getting to know all of the different members of staff and the different types of staff from porters and domestics to clinical staff and admin. There are some real characters working at the Royal and I’ve enjoyed meeting them.
Is there anything you would have done differently?

No I don’t think so. As I said I’d loved to have been more involved with Research but I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I think you learn things as you go along and change your point of view but that doesn’t mean that I would have changed the way I’d done anything.

Do you have any advice for the new public governors just starting out?

They will have done their training by now and I’m sure they all have their own ideas about how to approach the role and that’s the key to it. Listen to the training and take in what everybody says about the hospital and don’t be afraid to do things your own way or at least to make your own suggestions. As with most things in life, you will get out of the role what you put in so make the most of it.


​Building work starts on Royal’s new Endoscopy unit

​The Chesterfield Royal Macmillan Cancer is not the only major building project taking place at the Trust.

In November 2015 work also began on redeveloping the Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s Endoscopy unit, details of which were also shared during our membership evening in October shortly before the project started.

The £4million project will take around a year to complete and will result in capacity being increased from three treatment rooms to four, reflecting the growing need for endoscopic investigations nationally.

Steve Bird is the Programme Manager, he said: “We’ve known for a while that demand for endoscopic services was beginning to outstrip our capacity so the decision was taken to future proof the unit. 
​“We’ve seen a five per cent increase in colonoscopies and a ten per cent increase in gastroscopy investigations year on year over the last three years. To put it into perspective, last year between April and March we performed more than 8,000 inpatient and outpatient procedures…this year we’re predicting close to 9,000 and next year will see a five to ten per cent increase on that.”

Ian Fretwell is the Nurse Endoscopist and was instrumental in building up the service, he said: “We’re accredited by the Joint Advisory Group for Endoscopy Services and there are certain standards we need to maintain with regards to same sex accommodation, patient flow and privacy and dignity.

“With those kinds of projections, in order to meet these whilst continuing to offer the high level of service that we currently provide, the decision was taken to expand. This allows us to undertake Bowel Scope Screening as part of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.”

The new facility will involve building into an existing courtyard that is situated to the left of the unit as you walk in. This is where work will start, the area being dug out before the area is completely redesigned to include new procedure rooms, a staff room and update the existing facilities.

Ian added: “Our endoscopy team is regarded as one of the best in the country and we are confident that this development will allow them to provide top quality care within a state of the art unit for the benefit of our patients. The new layout will allow us to develop a total patient flow from coming in to leaving the unit. The flow of patients through pre to post treatment will be followed geographically ensuring our patients receive an improved privacy and dignity experience.

The endoscopy unit has set up a temporary home on Basil ward for the duration of the works which is expected to last one year. Diversions are in place as access is blocked at the bottom of the ‘Blue Diamond’ corridor on the way to the inpatient wards from the main entrance so please follow the signs when visiting.

Keeping Our Children Safe

​Theresa Critchlow has now been with us for a little over six months as the Trust’s new Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children.

It’s an important role to fill and Theresa is responsible for delivering a lot of the training that will ensure safeguarding is embedded across the trust and not just within the Women’s and Children’s Division.

Theresa officially joined us on 1st June 2015 from the East Midlands Ambulance Service where she spent more than three years as the Specialist Safeguarding Lead for Children and Young People.

“It was a varied role that involved different priorities and challenges for me,” explains Theresa. “I had to be very innovative in getting messages and training across and could often be called in at the moment of crisis. I got lots of experience within that role but I wanted a different challenge.

“This hospital’s reputation was one of the things that drew me here and I had worked before in the Emergency Departments of two other hospitals. When the opportunity to work as a named nurse at an acute trust came along, it was of great interest to me. I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to take up the role.”

​As with any named nurse position, Theresa’s main challenge is to be as accessible and visible as possible and she says that the culture within the hospital has made that job easier.

She said: “Everybody has made me very welcome and there does seem to be an open door policy from the top down. This welcoming and positive attitude helps with ideas and creativity and certainly, in terms of learning and education, it’s made life a little easier to be able to develop the landscape for safeguarding children and families.
​“If anybody has any concerns over the welfare of a child that they’re treating or work with a family member who has children then I’m always open for advice. You do need consent for referrals where possible and appropriate to do so, but I’m here for guidance as well so if there’s anything that you need help with or would like to talk through any issues that have arisen then please do get in touch with me.”

Theresa is available for help and advice between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday and will answer any emails or phone messages left outside of these times. You can contact her on extn: 3021 or via email on and is based in the offices across the corridor from Trinity Ward.

Annual Members Meeting 2015 - Celebrating Our Success

​We decided to do something a little bit different at the 2015 Annual Members Meeting and took the time to celebrate the achievements of some of our teams - see slideshow opposite or click here to view the gallery.

The first half of the event was dedicated to a number of stalls that highlighted some of the great work being done, including the creation of a neck of femur specialist unit on Robinson ward to deal with this very complex and serious break in the hip bone and a major project looking at planning every patient’s discharge from the moment they are admitted.

There were also stalls and information on our highly successful early supported discharge for stroke patients which allows those recovering from stroke to receive rehabilitation at home, our dedicated Older Persons’ Team helping to reduce admissions, length of stay and providing support for patients, including those with dementia, their relatives and staff and a great deal on the efforts of our financial teams to help reduce costs whilst optimising quality care.

​Also featured were initiatives from the Chesterfield Eye Centre, recruitment, our estates team, a look at the major capital projects, how we’re looking to improve harm free care, the blood culture service, our acute frailty unit and developments in maternity which include a new midwifery base at Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, newly refurbished postnatal suite and the work done to ensure the Trust has been UNICEF Baby Friendly Accredited for the fifth successive term.
​The Maternity team was also highlighted during the second section during a video which featured a fantastic example of how our staff work with patients to identify gaps in care and create innovative solutions.

In this case Sarah Smith suffered the heartache of her son, Joel, being born sleeping. The care she received in hospital was excellent but there was very little preparation for her going home without him. She felt compelled to write down her feelings and got in touch with our Senior Matron for Midwifery and Maternity, Linda Gustard. Together, and with the help of the Chesterfield Royal Hospital Charitable Funds, Sarah produced a book of experiences that will ensure Joel’s legacy lives on…the book will be completed this year. You can view the video ‘Baby Born Sleeping – My Stillbirth Story’ on our YouTube channel on

The rest of the evening saw speeches from public governor Brian Parsons who spoke about his role on the project board of the theatre refurbishment and Bernard Everett who spoke about the role of the governors for what was the final Annual Members Meeting of his third and final term. Lead governor Denise Weremczuck also said a few words.

Chief Executive Gavin Boyle rounded up the Trust’s achievements and financial position, Chair Helen Phillips addressed the membership for her very first AMM before certificates were handed out to the stallholders in recognition of their projects and the work they’ve done to improve patient care.