‘You’ve been doing amazing work during the global pandemic’ – London’s NHS Regional Director visits our hospital

Guru Sir David Reena and Linda

Pictured are (l-r) Guru Kholgade, surgery matron, Sir David, Reena Peter, senior sister for theatres, and Linda Cha-Cha, gynae sister.

Sir David Sloman, Regional Director of the NHS in London, visited King George Hospital on Wednesday 1 September to hear about our innovative approaches to reducing our waiting lists, and officially cut the ribbon on our new surgical robot.

The £1.7m robot, the second in our Trust, will allow our surgeons to perform robotic-assisted surgery, controlling it from a console with the instrument’s size allowing them to operate through small incisions, meaning less invasive surgery for our patients and therefore quicker recoveries. Sir David even got to cut a second ribbon using the robot, nicknamed ‘Slobot’ in his honour.

This is the first robot in our Covid-protected green zone, which will be used to operate on up to 200 patients a year, also helping us to reduce our waiting lists following the impact of the pandemic.

Sir David was taken on a tour of the green zone so he could see how it allowed us to successfully run a series of ‘Bones’ weeks, in which we focused our resources to carry out a much higher number of surgeries than in an average week, five times the amount of joint replacements during our most recent one in July.

During his visit, Sir David spoke to patients, including Scott Easton, who shared his positive experience following his procedure, and staff.

Sinead Skelton, senior sister on Iris ward showed him their ‘Our Covid Journey’ wall display, reflecting on their experience of the pandemic. She explained how, as well as a reminder for staff of all they’ve achieved, it was also proving a talking point with patients.

In our Urology department, matron Kuldip Chagger explained the changes the service had made to continue seeing patients safely during the pandemic, including relocating to the green zone.

Sir David also asked about her experience over the last 18 months. She said: “It’s been tough and emotional; I think we’ve worked on adrenaline for a lot of it and all pulled together. I’ve now had the chance to reflect. I’m part of an amazing team which I’m really proud to work for.”

To round off his morning at our hospital, he heard more about other innovations to cut our waiting lists, such as Project Scalpel, holding several blitz days at weekends offering a high number of outpatient appointments, and how our Frailty Unit is reducing the number of elderly patients going to our Emergency Departments and giving them a better experience be offering specialist care as soon as they enter our hospitals.

Sir David said: “It was an inspiring visit to King George Hospital. I was impressed by the quality of clinical leadership, and I found everyone to be relentlessly patient-centred. The patients I spoke to were also full of praise for the staff.

“The Trust has been doing amazing work during the global pandemic, and I will take away a sense of team, mutual respect, and professional pride.

“I would personally like to thank each and every one of the team for your dedication and commitment to providing excellent care.”

Pictured top are (l-r) Guru Kholgade, surgery matron, Sir David, Reena Peter, senior sister for theatres, and Linda Cha-Cha, gynae sister.

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