Led by Roland Sinker

Reflections across Divisions

Sarah Benyon – Consultant plastic surgeon and divisional director, Division D

  • Division D delivers a large amount of both emergency elective pathways for our patients across a number of specialities; referral demand increased and we’re seeing the highest elective list we’ve ever seen – both inpatient and outpatient
  • We recognise this has and is really challenging for all staff – medical, nursing and operational colleagues
  • Our teams have worked through all the challenges of the last 18 months and continue to be amazing
  • A couple of wards in particular to mention:
    • L5 and Glenn, the ward manager
    • The neurosurgery team who looks after the winter pressures ward, J3
  • There have also been a couple of great projects that have taken off in the last couple of months:
    • Malcolm Cameron and ACT secured funding for the cone beam CT and this will hopefully go live next week with our first patient going through it. This has taken a huge amount of work and collaboration across divisions. This will have a huge impact for the patients who would normally be referred to Guys Hospital for this
    • BBC Surgeons At the Edge of Life featured many of our divisional staff and huge collaboration
    • My focus remains on helping to support patient pathways; supporting a phased plan for thrombectomy, which was agreed at investment committee and will impact not just CUH but the region and I thank the staff for the work done on this over the last three to four years; and supporting stroke team for the stroke unit on R2
    • We all work collaboratively from patient referral to patient recovery; focus on what the patient needs and what staff members can impact – enhance recovery, length of stay, maximise outcomes for patients and reflecting on best practice
    • My advice: focus on what’s in front of you that day and realise that everybody continues to make a real difference to the person in front of you that day. Take the small wins; we do impact on people every day, wherever we work and whatever we do.


Kanwal Moar – Consultant cleft surgeon and divisional director, Division E

  • Division E is women’s and children’s services, based around The Rosie and paediatric wards and paediatric services
  • Impact had from pandemic is massive, but we’ve had to manage in a different way as we have a smaller bed base
  • It’s been an interesting few months. We’ve done a lot on the wellbeing of staff including check-ins with senior management team, giving time to listen to each other
  • During the last 18 months we’ve noticed the acuity of our patients has gone up so everyone is having to work that bit harder, also combined with staff sickness and isolation. We acknowledge this and thank our staff for standing up
  • In maternity we have noticed the number of births has gone up; acuity of births also gone up, as we accept complex cases from other regions
  • We have new staff coming in, both newly qualified and overseas recruitment pipeline
  • New palliative care cases coming through; we’ve been commissioned for excess weight services for children; and we are also looking at new psychiatry services in conjunction with CPFT – joint working models will all lead eventually to the children’s hospital
  • We are piloting and leading on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – including diverse interview panellists and cultural ambassadors
  • My advice: if you’re going to listen, make time for it. Set aside the time and make sure you’re not hungry or thirsty, do it away from a clinical area if you can so not distracted. Listening has a lot of value. I also try to find one quick win in every meeting.


Hugo Ford – Consultant oncologist and divisional director, Division B

  • Divison B is cancer services, but also a lot of support services such as outpatients, phlebotomy, allied health professionals (AHPs), imaging for example
  • Like others we have been having a lot of operational pressures and staff have been working incredibly hard, delivering more than pre-Covid in many cases
  • For example, since last year we have opened an additional CT scanner at Sawston, we have additional scanning capacity from DHC plus running CT on site in a van
  • CT demand has gone up significantly for inpatients – whereas 40% of scans used to be for inpatients, it’s now 55%
  • Similarly there has been a lot of pressure on point of care testing – particularly Samba and Covid
  • Outpatients – really thankful to everyone across the trust who has helped, with over 95% of rooms booked
  • Heated pods have arrived for our P&R phlebotomists – this service has been huge success through the pandemic
  • Special mention to the bone marrow transplant team who, by end of the financial year, will have delivered nearly twice as many procedures with nearly half the number of beds – an extraordinary achievement
  • In terms of cancer waits – all teams are doing everything to get people through the urgent cancer referrals:
    • We are meeting the 28 day standard to diagnosis; we are the only trust in the region to be doing that – 97.6% get diagnosis whether or not they have cancer within 28 days
    • We’re not quite meeting the 62 day standard, which is 85% of people getting treatment within 62 days – we’re not quite there at 80%
    • So there is a big bit of work to prioritise backlogs
  • Excited about the progress with the cancer hospital; working hard to get the next step of the business case approved
  • The cancer hospital will give us two key things in the future:
    • a truly transformative environment for patients and staff
    • it will bring a lot of the brilliant science that’s going on in industry at AstraZeneca and Cambridge University across the board, and focus that into clinical research for the benefit of our patients – focusing on the early detection of cancer and on integrated cancer medicine/personalised medicine.


Maria Mulrennan – associate director of operations, Division C

  • Two additional wards opening on 07 December – wards P and Q
  • P and Q are medically fit for discharge wards and sit opposite The Rosie
  • Patients in T2 will transfer to P and Q, and T2 will then close
  • Wards P and Q provide 32 beds to help support the trust with winter pressure initiatives; an additional capacity of 13 extra beds
  • Thank you to Bethany and Kirsty who will be moving over from T2 to P and Q
  • Thank you to the really impressive, collaborative, Trust-wide teams who have enabled wards P and Q to open on 07 December.


Chris Smith – new Covid variant

  • The new form is genetically very different to the current, dominant strain of Covid, Delta, with a concentration of changes in one particular part of the genome – the spike
  • The increased measures announced enable us to learn about this new variant; we don’t know how it’s going to translate to us here and in other countries
  • We are confronted by a variant with a lot of genetic changes and which does appear to transmit, but the disease does appear to be different and more trivial
  • We are confident that with the vaccines we have – because they are working against Delta, which is also different from the original Coronavirus which came from Wuhan – we’re going to see similar defence against this variant
  • There are two initiatives to understand this better:
    • The epidemiology – look at what happens, see how the disease spreads
    • Testing the antibodies from people who have been infected or vaccinated, to see if the antibodies stop this variant growing
  • Keep calm, follow the guidance and get your vaccinations – both flu and Covid
  • Covid vaccination also applies to pregnant women – there is now very robust evidence that if you catch Covid when you’re pregnant, you’re at much higher risk than from the vaccine.


Final words from Roland:

  • Look after ourselves, get vaccinated and follow guidance on social distancing
  • Be flexible – listen and support staff as we look to innovate
  • Our focus remains on pre 10am discharge for our patients.