The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, paid a visit to Medway Maritime Hospital on Friday.
The Secretary of State is keen to visit trusts in special measures that are showing signs of improvement – Medway NHS Foundation Trust being a good case in point.
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, published a letter in April to the Health Secretary setting out his latest assessment of Medway NHS Foundation Trust. His assessment was based on fieldwork carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at Medway Maritime Hospital on 29-30 March.
The CQC found signs of considerable improvement since their last inspection of the hospital in August 2015. Specifically, they found that:
- The hospital was safer for patients
- Leadership had improved
- Staff engagement among senior and middle managers had improved although low staffing levels are impacting on the morale of frontline staff
As part of the visit, Mr Hunt met with senior leadership and clinicians, as well as visiting the Emergency Department, where he was given a tour of the department to highlight the significant changes that have been made recently, including the new minors unit.
Mr Hunt was offered an overview of the next phase of the exciting redevelopment programme for the Emergency Department, which will help Medway Maritime Hospital cope more effectively with the 100,000 patients who visit the department each year. The Emergency Department was built to cope with 45,000 people.
Mr Hunt visited the Lister Ward to meet staff and patients and discuss the Trust’s newly implemented Medical Model, with the two leads, Dr Sandip Banerjee and Dr Richard Leach. The Secretary of State also met with Amanda Gibson, Senior Matron, about the Home First initiative – a recently introduced programme that is helping to facilitate early discharge and ongoing treatment and care at home for medically fit patients.
Speaking at the visit, Jeremy Hunt said: “I am very impressed by the progress that has been made. Change always takes time, but I feel that things are really turning a corner at Medway. We now see a really good partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospitals and an almost entirely new management team. Talking to doctors and nurses on the frontline, a clear sense of purpose emerges – and while there is more to do, the people of Medway can be very proud of the progress the hospital has made.”
Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Lesley Dwyer, said: We were absolutely delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt to Medway.
“It was a really positive acknowledgment of the progress we are currently making. He was really pleased to witness the changes we are making at first-hand, and was very complimentary about our staff and the obvious hard work that has gone into the progress we have made so far. He is now seeing a very different Medway to the one he saw on his previous visit.”