Introducing the kind volunteers delivering blood to Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

11th June 2017

They are the kind volunteers delivering blood, samples and emergency plasma to hospitals across the county.

Members of the 60-strong Essex Voluntary Blood Service (EVBS) give up their time free of charge to transport the units to where they are urgently needed.

From May 2, the Blood Transfusion Department at MEHT began working with the charitable organisation to provide an out-of-hours service to collect blood from the county’s NHS Blood and Transport (NHSBT) facility and transport samples. They are on call from 7pm to 6am Monday to Thursday and then 7pm Friday until 6am Monday morning.

EVBS can also work with controllers from other counties to set up deliveries, including sending samples to the NHSBT at Filton in Bristol. Volunteer Keith Weller said: “It is about the satisfaction of helping others – we love riding our bikes, especially if we can help a good cause by delivering blood to somebody that needs it.” He recalls one Christmas where the EVBS riders delivered blood that saved the lives of three babies. “It is so rewarding that we have managed to save three children who can go on and do whatever in life – without that they wouldn’t have been given that chance,” he said.

He explained that they receive on average between one and three calls per night and have members who are both motorbike riders and car drivers.

The team have two hours from receiving a request to make their delivery, which for Keith occasionally involves travelling from his home near Colchester into London. Additionally, he stressed that they are not a blue light service, but some of their bikes are equipped with amber lights as an indication to other road users that they are carrying blood.

“Blood bikes began in 1960, and the first proper blood group started in the 1980s in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The Essex group began in 2008 and was previously attached to Kent. We were known as Serv Essex before we broke away from Serv in 2011 and became EVBS. “A lot of it is about educating the public and we have a good training programme for all new members,” he said.

Nick Sheppard, Acting Blood Bank Manager, said: “We were previously using taxis from Brentwood – EVBS save us a significant amount of money as we can sometimes need to order blood from NHSBT one to three times a night. The benefit of EVBS is also that with a courier they will just be stuck in traffic with everybody else, but a motorbike can move around the traffic.

“From Monday to Friday we have two deliveries a day, but we can’t predict usage levels. We have minimum stock levels and try to predict what we might need to maintain appropriate stock levels and reduce wastage.” He added that they do still request blue light deliveries where necessary.

The EVBS assist with maintaining ‘the cold chain’ where blood cannot be out of temperature control for more than half an hour. Keith said: “It’s our way of putting back into the system – as a motorcyclist you put your life in your hands every time you get on your bike.”

INFORMATION: For more about EVBS, please email or contact Tina Parker, Blood Transfusion Nurse, on

Springfield Hospital becomes fully digital

8th January 2017

As of December 2016, new state-of-the-art digital x-ray equipment has been introduced at Springfield Hospital enabling patients and consultants to benefit from a new generation of imaging. The technology replaces existing equipment to upgrade the hospital’s onsite x-ray room from a general x-ray room to one with the latest digital technology and a new digital unit for OPG (orthopantomogram) dental scans of the mouth and teeth.

The Evolution Plus DRX equipment made by Carestream is the top of their range to provide very high quality digital images using minimal radiation doses. As well as being better for patients, the new equipment is ceiling-mounted to create an uncluttered scanning room and automated to mechanically move and position itself for the various x-rays performed such as a foot x-ray or shoulder. This not only reduces the manual handling requirements for staff but also significantly speeds up the x-ray examination.

Further time-savings are gained on the image acquisition side where images taken are instantly available for viewing, whereas on the old system each image took about one minute to appear for viewing and checking.

The new x-ray equipment follows the installation of a new CT scanner in the summer. As Phil Thompson, Radiology Manager at Springfield Hospital, explains: “These two items of equipment, along with an upgrade to convert our portable x-ray machine to digital, mean we now have a fully and directly digital department. Along with the scanner this investment marks a very exciting phase for diagnostic imaging at Springfield and for the hospital in general.”

The investment in diagnostic imaging is part of a wider hospital redevelopment and expansion programme which includes a dedicated oncology centre, sixth operating theatre, new 13-bed day case unit, additional outpatient consulting and minor treatment rooms, and more car parking. Springfield Hospital welcomes both insured patients and those choosing to pay for their own treatment for consultations, investigations and treatment in most specialties including orthopaedics, general surgery, cosmetics, women’s health, men’s health and ophthalmics.

Improved CQC rating for Broomfield Hospital

17th December 2016

Trust receives a ‘good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

We have received a ‘good’ rating following the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in June.

Congratulations to all staff for working consistently and collaboratively to make the changes in response to the ‘requires improvement’ overall rating which was in place after inspection in November and December 2014.

The CQC rated our Trust as ‘good’ for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led, and ‘requires improvement’ for being safe following re-inspection of Broomfield Hospital from June 14-16 this year and an unannounced inspection on June 30.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Our inspectors found a number of improvements had been made at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust since our last inspection.

“The leadership of the interim chief executive has driven significant improvements at the Trust and this was evident during our inspection. She was well known, approachable and visible to all staff.

“The Trust has moved from a culture of blame, with staff not feeling supported or listened to, to one of openness and transparency. The previous culture of fear had been dispelled and staff now felt empowered to perform well across all services.

“Our inspectors observed that staff consistently acted in a friendly and caring manner with people who used the service and those close to them.

“We were particularly impressed with the Trust’s burns service where we witnessed extremely good care. The service had innovative developments and plans and outcomes for patients with serious burns were comparably amongst the best in the world and were consistently exceptional.

“The Trust should be proud of the progress made and it knows what it needs to ensure the necessary improvements are made which we will check on when we next inspect.”

The inspectors noted a number of areas of outstanding service practice across the Trust, including:

  • They described the ‘trigger and response team’ as an exceptional team supporting acutely unwell patients throughout the hospital and saw that they were recognised throughout the hospital as being very responsive.
  • They highlighted that the Trust’s upper gastro-intestinal (UGI) surgery department is internationally recognised and has recently introduced leading edge robotic technology.
  • They detailed that the burns and plastics services are extremely good and ensure that service users are involved and central to the innovation in services. They noted that the directorate have recently introduced an electronic live trauma database which means that staff have up-to-date information about the trauma service. They outlined in the report that the outcomes for patients with serious burns are comparable among the best in the world and are consistently exceptional.
  • They commented on the dedicated ‘birth reflections’ clinic, which helps women who feel that they have not experienced the birth that they had planned for, or felt levels of anxiety or stress which related to the birth experience.
  • They described the mortuary team as innovative and passionate about providing a good patient experience at the end of life.

There were some areas where the CQC requires us to undertake improvements, including:

  • Patient records in the orthopaedic clinic must be stored securely.
  • The Trust must ensure that rapid discharge of patients at the end of their life is monitored, targeted and managed appropriately.
  • Medication, specifically paracetamol, must be prescribed clearly including the route of administration. The provider must also ensure that patient’s weight is recorded for patient’s prescribed VTE prophylaxis and follow the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.
  • Staff must be provided with appraisals that are valuable and benefit development.

Clare Panniker, Chief Executive said: “Moving the Trust from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ required enormous commitment, focus and excellent leadership and I would like to thank Cathy Geddes and her team for  providing the right environment in which all staff could make this happen.”

Cathy Geddes, Chief Nurse, said: “I am delighted to announce that the hard work of all staff across the Trust over the last two years has resulted in this excellent achievement.

“I would like to personally thank all of you for your dedication to improve the service we provide to our patients. There is still work to do in some areas, we know that and work has already started to bring about the necessary improvements in these areas, but let’s take a little time to reflect on the brilliant achievement of moving the Trust from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’. ”

The full report has been published on the CQC’s website, which you can access via the following link:

Kind regards,

Lauren Nash

Communications Officer

Communications Department
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust