Hospital Chief Executive responds to good report
Thursday 10th September 2015 @ 20:00 by Nigel Skinner
Ashton Community News

Tameside Hospital Chief Executive Karen James

Tameside Hospital should come out of special measures, health watchdog the Care Quality Commission said this week.

In an official statement and welcoming the news, the hospital responded: “The outcome of the report published by the Care Quality Commission represents a significant step along our journey of improvement. We acknowledge that whilst excellent progress has been made, we must now use this as a platform to continue to improve, enhance and, develop all of the services we offer to our patients. We are pleased that the CQC have recommended to our regulator, Monitor, that the Trust should be removed from special measures. We believe that this will continue to give confidence to our patients and the local community that Tameside Hospital is an organisation they can trust. We are also delighted for our staff, who together, have worked tremendously hard over the last two years to make our hospital a place we can all be proud of.”

Our reporter Lee Wild spoke to Chief Executive Karen Wild today on Tameside Radio Today News at 2pm.

Here is what she told him.

It’s been recommended the hospital leaves special measures. Can you tell us what that means and what’s going to change?

I think this is a really important stage in the hospitals improvement journey. I think it’s been recognised by our regulators as well as the CQC (Care Quality Commission) that we have made significant progress over the last two years in terms of improving the quality and safety of services across the board and they’ve acknowledged that.

Obviously there are further areas for improvement and that’s always going to be the case because we’re never going to be in a position where we’ve come to the end, were constantly looking at how we can improve things.

We know the things that they’ve asked us to continue to look at and improve such as A&E and patient flow and we know that’s reflecting what’s actually happening nationally, everybody is struggling to meet the standards required in terms of waiting times for A&E.

We know in certain areas we’ve got to do more work but they’re very confident that the team here will be able to drive that further improvement forward.

Can you tell us about all the hard work that’s gone in and the journey that the hospital has been on in the last two years?

It’s been a significant journey, I have to say. I sit here very proud of my team today because when I arrived here I think staff were able to tell us what needed to be improved and they were quite capable of making those improvements, we just needed to provide them with the additional support to provide those improvements. That is in terms of changes in practice, it’s about improving the numbers of nurses and the numbers of doctors we have on the shop floor.

It’s about changing attitudes, changing behaviours and so forth. There’s never one thing that’s the silver bullet in these situations, it’s a combination of things, but actually it’s the staff that have driven the improvements forward and that’s why I’m really proud to sit here today after the CQC report.

Where have the main improvements come from?

Improvements have been across the board, it’s important to ensure that we have the right staffing levels to provide a great quality service. Certainly that was an area that staff talked about when I arrived so that’s one of the major things that we changed.

Improvements still need to be made. What needs to be done and will this be easier once you come out of special measures?

There were a number of things they told us about which we were aware of in terms of patient flow and we know that there’s additional pressures in terms of A&E and they knew what we were trying to change to make improvements in that area, but that reflects a national picture.

Demand is growing for emergency services and a lot of patients that are coming in now are very sick, there are a number of things that are wrong with them that are very complex, and therefore not only do we have problems in terms of meeting the demand at the front door but when they need to go home that’s much more difficult because they’re complex issues. That means we have delays in discharging patients which affects bed availability as well for the next patients that do need beds, so we need to work with our partners to address that continual challenge.

Integrating health and social care, is that something that’s going to help?

This is really exciting because one of the things that we have been working with the local authority on is looking at how we can actually improve the integration of services, how we can pool budgets to actually meet the needs of our patient population.

So it’s a really exciting time, that’s the next strategy that we’re pursuing and I think the community and our patients will really see the benefit of those further changes going forward.

What are the significant improvements the CQC found this time around?

They found improvements across the board, they visited most of our clinical areas and our supporting areas and I think they actually acknowledged real and sustainable improvement s across the board.

What was really good that I heard the CQC say was that staff themselves said that we’re not here to tick your boxes, we’re here for our patients and we want sustainable improvements.

They did see those improvements for themselves, but obviously in every area there’s more work we can do and so we have an improvement plan for the areas that they identified. To me, actually they acknowledged the fantastic work that had already taken place.

How important were the frontline staff, doctors and nurses, in this transformation?

They led the transformation and they’re absolutely key. They need to be on board and they recognise what needs to change and they were quite clear about that when I arrived. From my perspective it’s just supporting them to make the changes.

It’s over to them and I wanted to thank them for facilitating all the improvements and hard work, because they’re a dedicated team and their commitment was so obvious, because they’re proud of the hospital.

They’re part of our community, they use the services as well so they wanted to make those improvements and I could see that when I arrived.

We have the shadow health minister in Andrew Gwynne, he singled out A&E for improvement, what steps are going to be taken to achieve this?

Andrew has been a great supporter of the hospital, and we do work very closely with all our local MP’s because they represent the community.

So I think it’s about listening to patients, what their needs are. It’s not just about what we do to improve A&E services; it’s what we do in conjunction with our GP’s, the local authority, and commissioners.

In terms of the integration agenda, that’s part of improving our A&E standards because we want to actually support patients in their home, if it’s more appropriate for them to be at home, with specialist support, and we want to be able to discharge patients early to ensure that we can maintain the bed capacity we need for urgent cases.

I think it’s working in partnership with our colleagues to provide something that’s very different going forward, and make sure were providing an integrated service, which I think will help enormously. More work to be done in that particular area, but I know my colleagues are going through similar improvements in other hospitals because it is a challenge across the board.

I just think this has been a team effort and I want to thank the community because we’ve had a significant engagement event where we tried to engage the community in improving the hospital. They told us what was important to them, they told us what the issues were, so their feedback has been very important to what we’ve done at this hospital to improve things.

I just want to thank everybody because we couldn’t have done it without the support of the local authority, our staff, our commissioners and the local authority.