Ruislip Residents' Association

Update from West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust

At the March 2015 meeting of The Community Voice, of which Ruislip Residents' Association is a member, the guest speakers from the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust were Dr. Michael Van Der Watt, Medical Director, and Professor Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse.

Dr. Michael Van Der Watt:

a) The aim of WHHT is to strive to deliver continuous improvement in all aspects of patient care through a partnership of clinical leadership, and to create a clear and credible long term financial strategy.

b) There are 3 main hospitals including an Urgent Care Centre, Hemel Hempstead, a Minor Injuries unit, St Albans Hospital, and an A&E department, Watford Hospital, serving 500,000 people with 600,000 contacts per year, with 4,000 medical and lay workers and 500 volunteers working in the Trust.

c) A project named "Onion" - peeling back the layers - was launched in 2013 as a catalyst for change.  The Government's response to the Francis Report noted it as an example of best practice in preventing problems and delivering safe patient care.  It was highly commended in Health Service Journal Awards.

d) All staff meet at 8.15am every morning to discuss any matters arising around patient care.  As a result of "Onion" the Trust is celebrating success with a 28% reduction in mortality, 40% reduction in clostridium difficile, and 95.6% of Accident & Emergency (A&E) patients are seen within 4 hours.

e) An extra £9m had been invested in patient safety, including £3.9m on 160 new nurses, 50 who will be recruited from UK University courses finishing in July and September.   Others will be recruited overseas.

f) Many other successes include a new Emergency Surgery assessment unit, a new dietetic kitchen, new cycle facilities and £600,000 on upgrading theatres, £25.5m investment in IT, and £16m investment in upgrading wards, clinics and many other areas.

g) As a result of "Onion" the Trust has learned from complaints, incidents and litigation, and is helping to achieve  financial targets.

h) The Trust's performance against key targets has mixed results, achieving above the targets for patients’ waiting time in A&E, and for cancer patients being diagnosed and treated, while missing targets for MRSA and clostridium difficile.

Professor Tracey Carter :

a) WHHT are building on the review "Your Care, Your Future", the NHS Herts. Valley CCG clinical strategy published in 2013.  Local organisations – Herts. Valley CCG, WHHT, Herts. Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Herts. Community NHS Trust, East of England Ambulance Service Trust and Herts. County Council, have all come together to build on the strategy.

b) The aims of the Trust are to meet the needs of patients in the way health and social care services are provided in West Herts., to improve and redesign these services and address patients' needs now and in the future, and to bring together partners from across the region.

c) An ageing population living with complex health conditions causes an increasing pressure on services and resources.  The Trust aims to support patients and carers with treatment in the right place, at home or as close to home as possible, and to keep services sustainable within the budgets available.

d) Effective engagement is vital and views from a wide range of groups of people from all aspects of  patient care, will be listened to, by online surveys and at drop-in events, and data will be gathered and analysed for future change by Autumn 2015.  Concerns were raised about resources, and if there was enough money to sustain the care of patients.  This will be addressed by good practice, due diligence and the best quality of care.

e) Bed blocking is an ongoing problem, as in all hospitals.  Staff meet 4 times per day to assess different problems to expedite the discharge of patients either to home or other places of safety, with help from other community partners working together.

f) Following the Francis Report, after problems with the Mid Staffordshire hospitals, the ratio of trained nursing staff has been increased.  There is a shortage nationally of Registered General Nurses and temporary staff are employed to fill vacancies.  Recruitment is ongoing in UK and overseas.

g) The implementation of a certificate in April 2015 will be required for Health Care workers, and training will be in house. This will help to provide better care for patients.

Both speakers were thanked by Wendy Mahaffey on behalf of the members.

Published in Other Local NHS Services on 28 March 2015.
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