‘WE really hope not to see a repeat of our past experiences’.
These were the words of the chief executive of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as she talked about the issues which have faced the organisation over the past year.
Robust plans have been put in place to ensure that services are better, Helen Ashley told the annual public meeting of the council of governors, adding that she was confident the three hospitals controlled by the trust were ready for the challenges presented this winter.
“We have worked incredibly hard since last winter and we look forward positively to this winter. We really hope not to see a repeat of our past experiences.
“We find ourselves in a good place comparatively.”
A harsh winter led to a seven per cent increase in patients through the doors of A&E at Queen’s Hospital last winter, leading to longer waiting times, more can celled operations and an increase in mortality rates.
Mrs Ashley said a raft of measures had since been put in place to ensure these issues did not occur again.
Referring to the number of cancelled operations, which rose dramatically during that period, she said: “It is unacceptable to see that number, and we have put a significant amount of work in place before this year . Hopefully we won’t see a return to this now.”
The opening of the new Acute Assessment Centre last month will be a big factor in relieving pressure, Mrs Ashley said, and other changes have been put in place to make sure people receive the care they require at this busy time.
A shift towards further financial stability is one of the things which has altered, she added, with the trust in a better position now than they expected to be.
However, money worries are still rife for the board, it was admitted, and a budget deficit of some £3 million still remains for the organisation.
“We still have some financial challenges; it would be unfair for me to say we are absolutely on track. We are somewhat away from it at this moment in time, but we have got plans in place to address that.”
IMPROVEMENTS in communication and moves to increase patient feedback will lead to a better service at Queen’s Hospital, it has been claimed.
Changes in the way feedback is gathered from staff and those using services have been put in place following recommendations made in the Keogh report earlier this year, after it found poor communication between senior management and staff member was causing problems.
Chris Wood, chairman of the Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which run the hospital, said ‘significant changes’ had been made within the organisation in terms of the approach, in the hope it would have an impact on the delivery of services.
He said: “There is a reinvigorated call for more participation and more involvement, and a greater for those who consume and deliver services in our hospital.
“We are starting to understand the need for more participation and to put this in place.”
Mr Wood admitted that the organisation had previously been too ‘reactive’ in addressing issues, often only dealing with issues following a complaint or an incident.
However, he added that some initiatives which were already in place were working well, but said there will be much more consultation in areas which have been lacking so far.
“There is much to do, and the trust is not complacent about the job in faces,” he said.