Tunbridge Wells Hospital missed three NHS targets but is out of special financial measures

Tunbridge Wells Hospital missed three NHS targets but is out of special financial measures

26th November 2018

THE Trust that manages Pembury’s hospital is falling short of three key NHS targets, but is no longer in special financial measures.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW] has announced it has reduced its deficit by around £15million since being put on a budgetary regime in August 2016.

After saving millions by ‘negotiating better deals’, the hospital’s management will now turn its attention to meeting targets for patient service.

This is after latest BBC data showed that MTW:

  • Is ranked 129 out of 131 NHS trusts in the UK for starting cancer treatment within 62 days of urgent GP referral.
  • Missed the NHS target of 95 per cent of patients treated or admitted within four hours of arrival at A&E. MTW recorded 90.3 per cent.
  • Is ranked 111 out of 126 NHS trusts for patients having planned operations and care within 18 weeks of referral. The target was last hit in February 2016.

The results also showed NHS West Kent, a separate entity, hit the NHS target of 75 per cent of patients starting mental health therapy within six weeks of referral.

An MTW spokesperson said: “It is our absolute priority that MTW delivers the national standards on waiting times.”

The Trust has not commented on which of the missed targets is their priority. But the management has spoken about how they plan to improve performance of individual departments.

On how they will improve cancer services, a spokesman commented: “We have increased the number of outpatient clinics, endoscopy sessions and radiology, CT and MRI slots.

“We have sped up the recruitment process for specialist doctors and clinical staff, to improve our performance, and to make sure our patients have access to the high quality treatment and care they need.

“As a consequence of these moves, more than 100 more patients a week are now being seen and are completing their main diagnostic test.”

And to improve A&E, MTW has committed to work closely with community providers to reduce attendances by treating patients at home.

The spokesman added: “We still have more we need to do, but we’re building on the good actions we’ve already taken that are delivering results and have implemented a robust plan to improve our performance and patient experience.”

Financial

Chiefs will be hoping they can draw on some of the financial nous that saw them streamline the operation after facing an annual deficit of £23million in 2016.

But after taking steps to improve practices, the NHS Improvement body recently considered MTW to have improved its budget outlook and no longer to be in need of special measures.

Stephen Hay, deputy chief executive of NHS Improvement, said: “While there remains more to do, everyone at the Trust should be congratulated for their contribution to reach this landmark.

“The Trust must now maintain these improvements in financial management while continuously improving the quality of, and access to, services for local patients.”

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