I’m one year into the role of a non executive director at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and amongst other duties I have the enjoyable task of chairing Southmead Hospital Charity– so it must be time for a little reflection.

The funds held by our Charity continue to grow, and during last year we raised over £1.4 million.  We have to thank our many contributors and staff for that fantastic achievement – a really good performance. However, raising the funds is only half (albeit the difficult half) of the story. Equally important is spending the funds – in the same period last year we spent over £1.8 million supporting projects and departments across the Trust.

Decisions as to where we should invest the funds are guided by an enthusiastic Committee and for 2017/18 we’ve set ourselves a target of increasing our spending to £4million. The Committee are of the firm opinion that the money is given to us to be spent – in the most appropriate way – and not to sit in a bank account earning very little, if any, interest.

Spending comes in many forms and we aim to distribute it throughout NBT to benefit all patients and staff. Examples of ongoing projects which we fund each year are our Fresh Arts programme, our Christmas Cracker grants and our Exceptional Healthcare Awards for staff.  Other initiatives which we support are of a one–off in nature. Examples during 2016/17 include the purchase of simulation dolls for our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and equipment for dementia patients.

The most significant component of our current programme is our Prostate Cancer Care Appeal which aims to provide two additional robots for this busy and rapidly growing surgical specialty. Our prostate team here at NBT is an examplar of good practice and deserves to flourish further and we’re working hard to raise the £2 million needed for the new robots.

So, we’ve had a busy year with some good successes but there’s an even more exciting year ahead.  We’ll be reviewing our activities and spreading the word further about just how far the money given to us can be spent in improving the patient experience within NBT.

 

Jaki Meekings-Davis

Chair

Southmead Hospital Charity