Welcome to our Spring 2013 edition of Members’ Matters
This has been a time for reflection for many of us that work in the NHS, following the publication of the second Francis Report in February on the poor care and treatment provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2006. The report made sober reading - the neglect of patients was shameful, made worse because it was not detected by the many systems in place intended to protect the public.
The report has certainly caused me to reflect on the role of my colleagues and myself on the Trust’s Board. The buck stops with us in making sure that nothing could ever go wrong on such an enormous scale at either of our hospitals, so we spend considerable time going round our wards and other areas, to see for ourselves how we are caring for our patients. Chief Executive Andrew Liles and I recently went ‘back to the floor’, spending a morning on reception at the main entrance to St. Peter’s and in outpatients reception. This was an excellent opportunity to hear feedback from staff and patients, all of which helps us understand how we can improve the experience of people visiting our hospitals.
It is also very timely that we have now introduced the new ‘Friends and Family Test’ on all of our wards and in our accident & emergency department. This is a Government initiative giving patients the opportunity to rate their care in hospital, by asking the simple question “How likely are you to recommend our ward to friends and family if they need similar treatment?” As well as providing data by which to compare hospitals, it will also give us important information on how well our individual wards are caring for patients.
The other significant development for the NHS has been the new structure resulting from the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which came into force on 1st April this year. My colleagues and I are devoting time to building relationships with our new partners in the NHS and elsewhere, so the transition is seamless and we continue to deliver the best possible care to our patients.
After our extended winter, our top priority remains improving how quickly we see patients arriving at the hospital in an emergency. For most of the year we have met our target meaning that 95% of patients attending A&E have been seen, treated and admitted or discharged within 4 hours. However, due to serious pressures in the system this has not been the case for the last quarter of this financial year. This is mainly due to a rise in the number of patients with more serious conditions arriving at hospital, and others with complex problems waiting to be discharged. The situation is similar across Surrey and beyond at the moment, with many other local hospitals facing similar pressures.
We continue to work with the ambulance service and our colleagues in the community to make sure that all organisations in the system are doing all that they can to support the best care for our patients.
Finally, I was delighted to attend the annual lunch for our volunteers at Ashford Hospital on 30th January – a great opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for the tremendous contribution they make to our Trust.
Aileen McLeish, Chairman