The Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne MP, paid an official visit to Medway Maritime Hospital today (Thursday, 15 September 2016). The Department of Health is keen to visit trusts in special measures that are showing signs of improvement – Medway NHS Foundation Trust being a strong case in point.
The Minister’s visit follows on from the Secretary of State’s recent visit to Medway in the summer, when Jeremy Hunt spoke in positive terms about the progress Medway NHS Foundation Trust has made this year as part of its trust recovery plan.
Mr Dunne met senior leadership and clinicians as well as visiting the Emergency Department (ED), where he embarked on a tour to see some of the important changes that have been made recently, including the minor injuries section.
Mr Dunne was offered an overview of the next phase of the exciting redevelopment programme for the Emergency Department. Once developed, the department will consist of 24 bays in majors, 7 bays in resuscitation, and 10 bays in the Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU). The works are scheduled to be completed by late 2017.
Emergency Department staff described the significant progress that has been made in recent months, which has seen Medway become the region’s best performing Trust for ambulance handovers, with around 60 per cent of patients being seen within 15 minutes.
The minister also gained an insight into how the Emergency Department has achieved a substantial reduction in its nursing vacancy rate in the space of just eight months. The vacancy rate stood at 65 per cent last November, yet now stands in the region of 24 per cent.
Following this, Mr Dunne visited the Women and Children’s department – a leading area of the Trust that was rated as ‘good’ with areas of ‘outstanding’ practice in the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report. During his visit, maternity staff revealed plans for a new bereavement suite set to open this autumn – a facility that is being specially constructed for families who experience a stillbirth, or lose a child shortly after birth
The Health Minister rounded off his visit in Lister Ward – Medway’s ambulatory care unit, which received a Certificate of Achievement last week at the Emergency Ambulatory Care National Network for being the most improved unit in the country. This is in light of the massive reductions they have delivered in the number of patients staying overnight since the unit opened in March.
Speaking at the visit, Minister Philip Dunne said: “It was good to see the progress that Medway has made this year since publication of its previous CQC report. I was pleased to see for myself how this is benefitting patients.
Clearly there remain some areas which still need to be addressed, but it is evident that Medway is continuing to move in the right direction, reinforced by a strong and stable leadership, a passionate workforce, enhanced physical infrastructure, as well as centres of excellence in some specialities for patients in Kent.”
Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Lesley Dwyer, said: We were really pleased to welcome the Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne MP, to Medway.
“It was particularly encouraging to hear the minister reiterating some of the positive comments that Jeremy Hunt made on his visit back in the summer. We now look forward to welcoming the Care Quality Commission (CQC) back to Medway in November, so that they can also see the changes and progress we’ve made to help improve the hospital for the people of Kent and Medway.”