Welcome to the 'Your Royal' section of our online staff magazine 'Life at the Royal'. For archives relating to 2015, please click here or tab down for the current articles.

Moving Tribute for our Breast Care Team

​A former patient of the Breast Care Unit has been telling us her story to highlight the tremendous work the team has done in taking care of her.

57 year old Helen Walker has recently been given the all clear after she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, news that came as a real shock to her as there was no detectable lump.

“It all came about after I went for one of my scheduled, regular appointments for a routine Mammogram. It was something I’d done a couple of times before and there was no particular reason for me to be concerned, but this time the letter came back to me to say that there was evidence of calcification and that I needed to get in touch with them.

“Obviously I was concerned and surprised as I do examine myself and I had not discovered any lump, so I got in touch and arranged to have a biopsy. When I got the results back they found a very small tumour, no bigger than eight millimetres that turned out to be the very early signs of cancer.
​“I saw a Consultant straight after my biopsy and had further scans on the same day. I was in a bit of a daze but they never left me alone at the beginning and they took their time with me, explaining what was going to happen and reassuring me that the detection was very early, answering all of my questions. I told them that I wanted to be positive, that I am a Christian and belive in the power of prayer; they completely respected that.

“I was booked in for my operation on the same day which was very reassuring as I could see that things were moving and that everything was being done to make sure I was treated as soon as possible. It was such a big help to me mentally to know that I wasn’t waiting; your mind runs away with you at times but I always felt that I was in good hands. I did have three operations after the first operation they found a two millimetre pre-cancer cell which was removed, I also had two lymph nodes removed on the first operation which was clear, the third operation was clear.

“I was blessed as I got two cancellations which meant that my operation was sooner than expected. The consultants came to speak to me before my op, as well as the anaesthetist to explain what was going to happen to me, why and how they were going to look after me. I really felt like I was treated as an individual rather than just another patient or a number.

“Recovery was also very frightening and I needed another two operations that were carried out by the same consultant which was brilliant for me as, once again, it felt reassuring and familiar. All surgical procedures can be daunting so any little thing that can be done to remove that fear of the unknown is a blessing. I saw Dr Massey, who is the most down to earth person, on a regular basis regarding my results and treatment and, along with Dr Ismay and Dr Hollywood, they were a brilliant team.

“It’s been a very difficult time for me, made so much more bearable by the entire team who showed me the kind of care and consideration that I would give to my own relatives. Everything, from the nurses who carried out that initial Mammogram, to the ladies in the Breast Care Unit who did everything they could to look after me when I was given the bad news, comforting, reassuring me, listening to my concerns and being a friend as well as healthcare professionals.

“I then went on to have 15 sessions of Radium at Weston Park Sheffield. Again I cannot fault them the consultants were very kind very informative bring able to ask questions and I wanted to keep positive which I said to them even in a difficult situation all the staff all the way through my treatment tried to speak to me in a positive way which I think is very important.

“I know that if I hadn’t gone to that routine scan then it could have grown, so to have it detected early may well have saved my life. That early detection helped me to recover faster and reduced the risk of it having spread, which it thankfully hadn’t, so I can’t thank the team enough. They were there for me throughout my experience and made a bad situation bearable, both physically and mentally. They are a wonderful team and I just want to say thank you to all of them for everything they’ve done.”


​The Royal’s Very Own Santa Claus!

​​No Christmas at Chesterfield Royal Hospital would be complete without the visit of Dennis Widdowson.

Delivering thousands of toys, games and books over the past four decades, Dennis’ incredible generosity has regularly blown away staff on the Trust’s children’s ward.

Every year, for the past 35 years, he has crammed his car full of goodies to give to children staying at the Royal on Nightingale over Christmas, making the short journey from Shirebrook.

After starting to donate toys through a tournament at his golf club, Dennis (bottom right) and his wife Mary decided to go on their own and donate the gifts themselves.
​Sadly, Mary passed away last year and there were whispers he would be donating fewer toys and making a cash donation instead. However, we shouldn’t have doubted him for a second!

“Mary told me to carry it on, and I have,” Dennis explained.

Helped by his friend Terry (top right), the pair arrived at The Den with two cars packed full of dozens of bags, bursting with every kind of toy you can imagine – with plenty of wrapping paper too.

Dennis told us he starts buying gifts right at the start of the year and keeps topping his haul up until December. Each present is then wrapped by the staff on Nightingale and gifted to the children on the ward on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so no child goes without a present.

From everybody at the Trust, we’d like to express our thanks to Dennis and wish him a very merry Christmas!

Collection of bloods improved thanks to innovation

​Two of our Junior Doctors have won first prize at a Quality Improvement Clinic for a project that has improved the collection of bloods on wards.

Nyssa Comber and Sagheer Hanif began their improvement project over concerns that delayed blood tests could be affecting patient discharge dates so set about trying to find out how this could be improved.

Nyssa said: “We discovered that doctors weren’t always aware that phlebotomists aren’t always able to take bloods. It could be that the patient wasn’t in bed at the time, they may be with another clinician, whatever the reason it was clear that this fact wasn’t always communicated back to the doctors. We set about using the PDSA method, which stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act, to introduce small changes with the achievable aim of improving this particular channel of communication.”
​Sagheer said: “The first thing we did was to introduce a box within which the phlebotomists could put the forms corresponding to the patients who hadn’t had their bloods taken. The thinking behind this was that the box could be checked so doctors would know which patients were missing bloods and didn’t waste time chasing results. It didn’t work as doctors still weren’t aware as the boxes were moved, ignored or weren’t visible enough.

“This led to the second change which was to introduce a bigger box that was brightly coloured with stickers, pictures of bloods and a sign saying ‘Missed Blood Box’. This worked so we knew we were onto something with the box but we still hadn’t achieved our aim which was to ensure that a doctor is aware of one hundred percent of the missed blood forms”

“This meant we needed something else,” added Nyssa, “so we introduced stickers that said ‘missed bloods’. The idea was that phlebotomists would put a sticker on the bedside of any patient whose bloods they missed. This was a resounding failure as doctors would sometimes see the patient before the phlebotomist so the stickers went unseen. We also tried making use of the whiteboards for phlebotomists to make notes but it would invariably get wiped off or not noticed so we looked at a fifth option.

“At this point we were still using the box so added a signing sheet that phlebotomists would pick up and write the number of bloods missed on each day . The phlebotomist would find a doctor, explain to them the number left over and ask them to sign the sheet. This meant that at least one doctor would know how many bloods were missing, who they were and where the forms were. From this moment we had one hundred per cent awareness of the missed bloods forms by at least 1 doctor.”

Sagheer added: “It sounds like a simple solution but by approaching it as a Quality Improvement project we made sure that we had a clear, achievable aim, approached the problem systematically and had a way to measure success. We presented out project at The Quality Improvement Clinic regional conference and we won first prize. For me it’s a great example of how a significant change can be made through a pragmatic approach to a problem and making gradual, deliberate changes that can be tweaked until a solution is reached”


Tea Party to celebrate the hard work of our colleagues

On 4th July 2017 we held the biggest tea party ever held at the Trust to congratulate our colleagues on the hard work they put in to achieve a CQC rating of 'Good'.

It follows the 2015 inspection which returned a rating of 'Requires Improvement' and prompted the Trust to create and implement an improvement plan which has been followed through impeccably and resulted in our new rating earlier this year. It's the first step towards our aim of becoming 'Outstanding' and recognises the hard work put in from all corners of the hospital from nursing and clinical teams to administration and domestic.

To mark this achievement the Trust decided to recognise that effort and hard work by treating our colleagues to a slice of cake, or a healthy alternative such as fruit or yoghurt. Time was set aside between 3pm and 5pm when cake was delivered to wards by members of the executive team and senior leaders or collected by Patient Services Assistants on their way to their shifts. Outpatient suites, offices and other departments collected theirs and there was also cake and refreshments available in the main entrance for those passing through.
Some wards decorated nursing stations with bunting to get into the spirit of things and involved patients in the fun. Those who visited the main entrance were treated to a performance by our newly formed hospital choir and a party atmosphere that was enjoyed by all.

Chief Executive Simon Morritt was among those who took cake to the wards, he said: "There are thousands of individuals working here to provide high-quality patient care and services. Everyone of them plays a vital role as part of a 3,700 strong team. This rating is their success and we are absolutely delighted for them. Through their commitment and support they've taken positive action to make a difference - and have proved our hospital deserves to be 'Good'. I congratulate and thank all of them for the contribution they have made to this result."

You can see some of the photographs from the day in the slide show above, to view the full gallery click here.


Keeping it Green

​Small things can make a big difference and that’s the approach the Chesterfield Royal Hospital is adopting with waste paper.

New, plastic waste bins are being distributed across the Trust specifically for non-confidential waste paper and cardboard to help reduce the amount of waste sent to energy recovery and increase the amount of paper that can be recycled.

The bins were introduced at a stall in the main entrance in partnership with waste contractors Veolia and Russell Richardson, where members of staff were also encouraged to make a pledge about what changes they would make to improve the environment.

Sally Ludditt is the Royal’s Waste and Environmental Advisor, she said: “We’ve made a commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and this is another step to being able to prove that we recycle more of the materials that we’re able to.
​“The paper in the bins will be taken down to the larger blue wheelie bins where can be emptied, these larger bins will be emptied on a regular basis. Staff are encouraged to do this themselves although we have got support from our volunteer service in a number of areas. This is a scheme that benefits everyone as we’re reducing our carbon footprint and it helps to bring in money through rebates due to recycling.”

A number of staff made pledges to do their bit to improve the environment which included walking or cycling to work a certain number of times a week instead of driving, attempting to go paper free, car sharing with colleagues.


​Annual Service of Remembrance

​There's a change of venue for this year’s annual service of remembrance for parents who have lost their children.
Following last year’s severe weather, the decision has been taken to move the service from car park 5 to the Barcelona Suite at the Casa Hotel. The service, organised and led by the Chesterfield Birth Centre co-ordinators, paediatrics, the neonatal unit, women’s health unit and the hospital chaplain, will remain unchanged. It’s all part of the ongoing support for families who have lost babies and children through miscarriage, stillbirth, illness or accident.
The service has been running each year since the early 90s and always takes place on the Sunday after the Easter weekend, falling this year on Sunday April 23rd.
Linda Gustard is the Divisional Head of Midwifery, she said: “This event has grown in popularity over the years and is a very important part of the grieving process, allowing those parents who attend each year to take great comfort in being with others who have shared a similar experience. It is tremendously well attended and we see a lot of familiar faces each year as well as some new ones.
“We recognise that for some people it was very difficult coming back to the hospital which may have been the place where they experienced loss, whilst for others it could be a cathartic experience. We hope that this new venue will provide that same level of comfort and support but without exposing everyone to the unpredictable British weather. It can be an emotional occasion but to have so many people there who have gone through similar experiences makes them realise that they aren’t alone.”
The afternoon will include readings, songs and the recital of the names of their baby or child to enable parents to light a candle if they wish and each family will be able to write a message in the book of remembrance. 
Trust chaplain Colin Barrick conducts the reading and writes the order of service, he said: “This is the third time I’ve been involved and I’m very keen to ensure that we keep proceedings accessible to everyone by not making the ceremony overly religious. We have a number of the nursing staff here and we are all available after the service to talk to families about their experience and offer any further help and advice.”
The service starts at 3pm in the Barcelona Suite at Casa Hotel in Chesterfield and there will be plenty of parking for those coming by car. It is open to everyone, allowing families and friends to come along.


Chesterfield FC are a hit with the kids on Nightingale

The Chesterfield FC squad visited our youngsters and staff on Nightingale ward and The Den to hand out goody bags, chat to the patients and sign autographs.

It's part of the Trust's annual Christmas preparations and it's always good to see the team come down en masse to provide a boost to our youngest patients and help take their minds off what it is that's brought them here.

Jenny Reaney is the Play Team Leader, she said: "They come down every year and it's always a thrill for the youngsters, even those who don't really follow football have a great time talking to them and, of course, seeing Chester the Field Mouse! 

"We do our best to give the children something special in the run up to Christmas. You never choose to be in hospital but for younger patients they'd rather be at home or with their friends, joining in with the festivities, so to be at the centre of a special visit such as this one is a real tonic."

A big thank you to Chesterfield FC and the very best of luck for the rest of the season, you can see a slideshow of their visit to the left.

​Royal makes diagnosing Sepsis clearer

​The Royal’s Microbiology and Blood Science teams have been working together to develop a new process which hastens the diagnosis of Sepsis.

A new system of taking and testing Blood Cultures has led to them being tested sooner than when using the previous system. Time is a major factor in successful Blood Culture testing with guidelines suggesting that they be analysed within four hours of being taken and statistics suggesting that for every hour that a Sepsis remains undetected the risk of death increases by 7%..

With the Microbiology team working 8.30am to 8pm, this four hour turnaround wasn’t always possible, particularly because cultures were routinely dropped off in Blood Science and, if this happened out of hours, they’d be stored in an incubator until they could be analysed. This could result in the bacteria going through a growth cycle and lead to a potential misdiagnosis.

Michael Collins is the Biomedical Science Team Manager, he said: “We knew that we needed to look at how to improve this so sat down with Dr Michael Weinbren, our Consultant Microbiologist, to discuss it and think about a plan. Eventually we decided to see how moving the Blood Culture analysers to Blood Sciences would change things and ask them to load cultures when they arrive.

​“Blood Sciences work 24/7 which means that cultures could always be loaded on time and our cultures are delivered to a central reception located within Blood Sciences. The cultures were already there so it made sense to see if they could also load them into the analyser. We had a number of meetings about it and Service Manager Chris Ainger and the Blood Sciences team were fantastic in helping us to take this forward. Sepsis remains undetected the risk of death increases by 7%..
​“There were some concerns within Microbiology over the fact that this is a highly specialised area and also within Blood Sciences who were concerned about the additional workload but we all worked together to drive this forward and what we have now is the only hospital in the country able to analyse every single Blood Culture within four hours, day or night, which vastly improves the diagnosis of Sepsis.” 
​The change involved more than just analysing cultures because a prompt method of delivery needed to be devised to be able to facilitate this new system and this was provided through the already existing pod system.

Richard Heathcote is a Specialist Biomedical Scientist who, alongside Michael Collins and Dr Weinbren, was instrumental in taking this forward, he said: “We looked at where we could speed up the process further and came to the conclusion that if we used plastic bottles within which to collect the cultures instead of glass then we could use the pod system. What tended to happen was that areas would group cultures together until they had enough to porter across to us. It’s a good ten minute round trip for someone to walk which, on a busy ward, isn’t a great use of their time. Now they come to us as soon as they’re ready almost instantaneously without any time consequence to ward staff. 
​“When all the training was done, the bottles arrived and we had support staff engaged we just decided to go for it and it is now embedded across all biomedical science. We’re all aware of how important it is to get the cultures here on time, loaded into the analyser and processed. We get 96% of cultures within two hours and can load them at any time of day or night. We can now turn results around very quickly with 90% of cultures receiving a report within 24 hours compared to just 2% for your average teaching hospital.

“Time is a major factor in the diagnosis of Sepsis as statistics show that for every hour it goes undetected, the risk of death goes up by 7%. There are almost certainly people walking around the streets of Derbyshire right now who wouldn’t have been before we introduced these changes which have all been made using existing resources.”
​The Trust has received a lot of interest from other Trusts looking at how our model for blood cultures can be applied at their hospital. It was also the subject of a four page article in ‘The Biomedical Scientist’ magazine.


A Lego treat for the Nightingale children

​Nightingale ward had a very special delivery on Tuesday 16th February when Joanne Hinkley and her son, Elliot, delivered £800 worth of Lego!

The boxes came courtesy of national charity Fairybricks, set up by three friends through their mutual love of Lego with the aim of donating bricks and Lego sets to hospitals across the country.

Elliot is a massive fan of the popular bricks and he and his Mum (pictured far right) had supported the charity a number of times at Lego events. This led to Fairybricks asking them about their local hospital (the Royal!) and donated the sets that you can see in the picture to the left.

The sets include the popular Creator series allowing the children to make several different models following the instructions and using the same bricks, the Friends series, the endlessly popular City series and much more, including Duplo for the younger children.
​Jenny Reaney (pictured above, far left) is the Play Team Leader, she said: “We usually give the sets out to children who might be here over their birthday, perhaps for Christmas or if they’ve been in for a while and are in need of a treat. We do have some Lego in our playroom and will use some of the sets to top up the collection of bricks we already have. You can certainly never have too much Lego!

“Play is such an important part of a child’s recovery because it helps to take their mind off their treatment and focus their concentration and imagination on something more fun. We’d like to thank Joanne, Elliot and everyone at Fairybricks for this donation; it’ll bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of children.”

To find out more about Fairybricks you can visit their website by clicking here


Major Project gets off the ground

​Representatives from our cancer services, Macmillan Cancer Support, public governors and local MPs were amongst those who gathered to see work begin on the new Chesterfield Royal Macmillan Centre

Preparatory building work started in late 2015 and is gathering pace with the £9million centre scheduled to open towards the end of 2016 alongside a £2.5million fundraising campaign with our partners, Macmillan Cancer Support.

The centre will increase the number of chemotherapy chairs for patients from eight to 21 alongside two treatment beds and three treatment rooms. This is a significant increase and necessary to accommodate the 1,500 people across our region that are told that they have cancer each year.
​Tracy London is our Cavendish ward matron, she said: “We’ve known for a while that the unit is becoming overwhelmed in the sense that the number of patients we need to see is outweighing the capacity. It means that we are lacking the space to deliver the care we would like and , because a lot of the support services are located in different areas of the hospital it can be difficult to access that support as quickly as we would like.
“The atmosphere on Cavendish is very social, calming and friendly and we hope to be able to transfer this to a more spacious unit that will provide some fantastic views over the Derbyshire hills and give us more room to be able to care for our patients.”
There were a number of patients at the turf cutting as well who were able to tell their stories, including James Colhoun who is a leukaemia patient and has experienced our services first hand. because a lot of the support services are located in different areas of the hospital it can be difficult to access that support as quickly as we would like.

​James (picture left) said: “I have to go for treatment seven times a month at four different hospital departments which are at opposite ends of the hospital. It can be stressful having to travel around different departments for treatment and can result in a huge amount of time wastage for me and for the staff. To have all of the services in one place will be a huge benefit to everyone concerned.”
The centre is being built by Vinci Construction who are also on site delivering the projects for our theatre refurbishment and Endoscopy 
​​projects, based on a design by The Manser Practice who were involved in the construction of our main entrance and birth centre. You can see the latest pictures of the build below.
There have been many fundraising activities for Macmillan’s appeal, some of which you can see by clicking here. If you would like to know more about the appeal, including patient stories, some video clips on how you can help and why the centre is being built then you can visit Macmillan’s dedicated page by clicking here.

To see more pictures from the Turf Cutting Event, please see the slideshow below

Christmas 2015

It was a fantastic end to the year and there was plenty going on around the Christmas period to help everyone at the Trust, whether staff, patient or visitor, to help see in the New Year. For a full gallery of pictures please click here.
It all started with an incredible donation of toys from Shirebrook gentleman Dennis Widdowson (pictured left) and his wife Mary, Every year they spend time buying toys, games and books, bringing them in for Christmas. They are then wrapped up and handed out to the youngsters on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to give them a bit of festive cheer.

The Trust also received a number of other donations from Mecca Bingo, Tesco, the ladies from Sainsburys came in to read a Christmas story about Mog the Cat and handed out more Christmas gifts. 

Youngster Paige Helliwell saved up her money and decorated two show boxes which she filled full of gifts such as glitter pens, dinosaurs, colouring books, gem stone stickers and lots more. An incredibly thoughtful and generous young lady!
Of course there was the annual visit of the Chesterfield footballers who spent well over an hour talking to the youngsters, handing out goody bags, posing for photographs and signing autographs. Thank you very much to them and we wish the club a hugely successful 2016!

For staff there was plenty to celebrate as well!!!
There was a Christmas Fayre that featured a number of stalls selling gifts, cakes, stocking fillers and much more with the money raised going towards the Chesterfield Royal Macmillan Cancer Centre Appeal and the hospitals own charity. It also featured a performance by the Royal's celebrated Choir who also took time out to perform in the main entrance, outside in front of the Christmas Tree and to patients on our wards.

There was a staff Christmas Tree competition, a number of quizzes and tombolas, a Christmas Dinner served by the execs (including a special sitting for our incredible volunteers) and plenty of other activities to help see out 2015 with the chance to have a little but of fun as well. 

So, we're now into 2016 and all that remains to be said is Happy New Year from everyone at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital