I would like to start my column this week by thanking colleagues who were involved in the launch of the first phase of the Trust’s major digital upgrade at the weekend.

Work on the new Patient Administration System (PAS) started on Friday – it is a mammoth task with colleagues working tirelessly to ensure its smooth transition.

The PAS is the first phase of the Electronic Patient Record (EPR), which long term will improve the care we provide to our patients. It replaces the Trust’s 20-year-old system and involves transferring over one million patient records and training over 5,000 members of staff.

I would also like to thank patients for their understanding during this transition and ask them to support us further, as it may take patients longer to be booked in if they need to attend hospital or attend for an urgent appointment. We apologise for any delays.

Patients can also help us by not calling our bookings team during the transition period unless they have an urgent enquiry that cannot wait for two weeks. We want to keep phone lines clear for urgent patients so their call can be dealt with promptly.

We will contact any patients affected during the transition from the old to the new system and they do not need to take any action – new appointment letters will be sent out.

The Trust’s Emergency Departments remain open for patients with life-threatening conditions. If it is not an emergency then please contact NHS 111 or use the other options available to you, such as community pharmacies and Minor Injury Units located at Whitchurch, Bridgnorth, Oswestry and Ludlow. More details on which healthcare services are on offer can be found at www.thinkwhichservice.com.

This is such an exciting time for the Trust and Phase One of EPR puts in place the necessary foundations for further digital upgrades, paving the way for more modern systems to share patient information across health and care.

EPR is just one of many ways we are looking to benefit our patients and we also are committed to advancing cancer care to ensure patients receive the highest standard of treatment.

It was announced this week that a bunker is being built for a new linear accelerator, which will improve the treatment of cancer patients.

The linear accelerator (also known as a LINAC) will be a replacement for a current machine, which is soon to be decommissioned. It is a vital component in the treatment of cancer patients.

The bunker is currently being built at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with a replacement LINAC being installed by early 2025.

It is great news for our patients as it means that demand can be met with this project and it also ensures that they receive timely services without facing delays or disruption.

Congratulations also to Kate Merriman, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, for being awarded a Mayor’s Special Award.

Kate was recognised at the Shrewsbury annual Mayor’s Awards for establishing diabetes foot awareness across Shropshire which has helped avoid foot amputation linked with diabetes.

Miss Merriman is a wonderful ambassador for diabetes feet and has developed an educational programme which includes road shows around Shropshire. She is so passionate about improving outcomes for this group of people it is so lovely to see her gain the recognition she deserves.