Tackling the NHS challenges

One of the new modular theatre units at Wrightington Hospital
One of the new modular theatre units at Wrightington Hospital

WIGAN hospital bosses believe the ongoing £50m investment programme is key to improving patient care.

Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) say the new additions at all three hospital sites is the driving force behind their attempts to continue to improve the quality of care provided to patients.

Silas Nicholls, deputy chief executive, said, “This investment is already significantly enhancing quality and experience for our patients, visitors and staff.

“We have now completed a number of high-profile developments such as including the Education Centre, car parking and a second MRI scanner at Wigan and two new modular theatres at Wrightington.

“We also have the award-winning Hanover Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at Leigh that now houses the Leigh Endoscopy Department, Richmond Urology Unit, Women’s Healthcare Unit and an Endoscope Re-processing Unit. Work on a Cancer Care Centre in Wigan is also currently under way and should be operational later in 2014.

“A significant challenge the Trust continues to face is on finance. Trust turnover is £253m and in 2013/14, it had a huge savings target of £13.6m to achieve. It has similar savings to achieve for 2014/15 and thereafter the challenge is set to get even tougher.

“This means that the programme to deliver more patient care in the community and closer to home to allow a reduction in the range of care that needs to be delivered in hospitals is very important.

“This joint approach along with others involved in providing health and social care will allow the Trust to further reduce its costs safely over time.

“The reason that managing its finances is so important to the Trust is to allow it to continue to make investments in its facilities. By the end of February 2014, they will have already spent or committed £30 million out of a £50 million investment plan which runs through to 2020.”

From a safety perspective, WWL say they only had one MRSA bloodstream infection over the last year although it has struggled to reduce the incidence of Clostridium Difficile infections having had 29 during 2013/14.

Bosses say they have, however, managed to reduce the number of serious patient falls in hospital, cases of ventilator associated pneumonia and hospital acquired pressure ulcers.

One of the nationally acknowledged measures of effectiveness of care is the ratio of the actual number of deaths that occur in hospital compared with the number expected to die due to their illnesses.

This measure is known as Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) and WWL’s figure for the year-to-date during 2013/14 is 87.8 which is better than the national average of 100.

The trust has one of the best A&E departments in the country and for the year to Christmas it was the best performing department in Greater Manchester and second in the whole North West with a performance of 96.1 per cent in achieving the national four-hour target.

However, in February A&E was challenged and performance dipped to 92 per cent.

CEO Andrew Foster said: “We are doing all we can to improve on this performance. We apologise to any patients who experienced any delays to their treatment.

“We feel we are making strong progress on quality, performance measures and our investment strategy.

“We are delighted to have won several regional and national awards over the last year. Winning such awards means we are being recognised by others for the progress we are making.”