Northumberland NHS trust has busiest ever summer but 98% of patients have positive experience

Patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside hospitals continue to have overwhelmingly positive experiences, despite ever-increasing demand.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 30th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust met the A&E waiting times target last month despite a rise in demand.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Sir James Mackey, told the latest board meeting: “In August, we had a really strong performance in the context of what’s been our busiest ever summer.

“This isn’t without tension, there was a slight breach of the 18-week standard (from referral to treatment), which is a reflection of multiple factors.”

But presenting her regular patient and staff experience report, the trust’s chief experience officer, Annie Laverty, revealed that 98% of inpatients, 99% of day patients and 98% of outpatients rated their experience as good, very good or excellent during the first quarter of 2019-20.

In terms of two areas which have previously not been as strong as others, the decline in performance in relation to coordination and consistency of care has continued, which is a ‘reflection of the pressure in the system’.

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However, the previous decline in pain management has been halted and is ‘now within the normal range of variation’.

In further positive news, the recent results of the 2018 National Cancer Survey show that the Northumbria Healthcare patient experience was the highest in the North East and ninth nationally, and represented an improvement on the previous two years.

Non-executive director Moira Davison said: “The cancer survey is brilliant, because that’s through 2018 when the trust didn’t meet its cancer waiting time targets, so patients waited a bit longer than they should have done but still had a good experience.”

Ms Laverty agreed, saying: “Patient experience is way beyond the single reductionary measures that are often reported nationally.”

Nonetheless, the trust hit 11 of the 12 national performance measures in month five of the financial year (August), only missing out by 0.3% on the target of having 92% of patients in treatment within 18 weeks of a referral by a GP – which is to be the subject of some targeted work.

The meeting also heard that Northumbria Healthcare’s financial performance continues to be strong as well, with the trust on target to hit its control total this year of a £24.4million surplus.