Health boss sets out his vision to make community ‘proud of trust’ - The Worcester Observer

Health boss sets out his vision to make community ‘proud of trust’

Worcester Editorial 17th May, 2019   0

“WE want people to be involved – we want to open our doors up because the hospitals belong to the community and we want the community to feel proud of the care that’s provided.”

That’s the message from Matthew Hopkins, the chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

“If people are keen to be involved as a ‘mystery shopper’ or help us with their own particular skill, we want to hear from them,” he said.

Mr Hopkins was speaking less than a week after the trust agreed a number of ‘enforcement undertakings’ with NHS Improvement over the trust’s failure to provide safe services and effective financial decision-making, management and control.

The organisation, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Kidderminster Treatment Centre, is currently in special measures and rated ‘Inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission.

Despite this, Mr Hopkins said he was optimistic for the future.

“This is my third chief executive’s job in a trust with these kinds of challenges,” he said. “Staff are working really hard and they are as good as any I have seen in my 30 years in the NHS.”

He said the trust’s priorities will be putting the patient first, getting their governance right, and freeing up staff from NHS red tape.

On the financial position of the trust – £72.5million in the red at the end of 2018/19 – he said more than three-quarters of acute trusts nationally were in financial deficit.

“That’s partly due to increasing demand, the increase in the cost of delivering health care and the fact that investment from the government has been to keep up with normal inflation, not with any increase in demand,” he said.

However, he added the aim was to stabilise the trust’s finances this year, agree a policy by the autumn and produce a financial plan to get the deficit down.

It would also be looking to emphasise the attractions of living and working in Worcestershire to fill vacancies and reduce dependency on expensive agency staff.

Mr Hopkins also recognised work would have to be done on improving staff morale and he acknowledged that could take some time.

On the provision of safe services, he said: “Clearly we need to focus on getting the basics right, making sure we are compliant with hand washing, prescribe antibiotics in the right way, make sure the hospitals are clean and patients are getting the right treatment and the right diagnostic tests in a timely fashion.”

And he was positive about moves to reduce the pressure on accident and emergency departments.

“An independent analysis of the hospitals found we were about 110 beds short. Since the autumn we have opened an additional 85 and we have a further 25 opening next month,” he said.

However, Mr Hopkins said that bed capacity extended beyond the four walls of the hospitals and it was important that all providers across Worcestershire played their part in helping patients on their road to recovery.

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