Mixed report for Trust

PUBLISHED: 17:13 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

A WATCHDOG has condemned the management of health service finances across Comet country as weak during an annual check. And the quality of health services is weak in Mid Beds and fair in Hertfordshire, according to the Healthcare Commission. The new figur

A WATCHDOG has condemned the management of health service finances across Comet country as weak during an annual check.

And the quality of health services is weak in Mid Beds and fair in Hertfordshire, according to the Healthcare Commission.

The new figures show the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has failed to manage its use of resources.

This could include how it plans and reports on financial performance, how it monitors the money it spends and how it makes sure the services it offers to patients represents good value for money.

The Trust's score for quality of services as fair reflects its provision of the basic standard of care required by the Government and whether it strives to improve the care and treatment of patients.

According to the Healthcare Commission's findings, the Trust did not fully comply with core standards set by the Government, only partly met existing national targets and were weak in making and sustaining progress of new national targets.

As concerns about the hygiene levels at Lister heighten, the health check reveals the Trust did not achieve the planned reductions of MRSA infections set out in new national targets.

The Trust also scored poorly for the number of patients who have a complete and accurate medicines record for their stay in hospital - reflecting the fact medication errors are more than double the national average at Lister.

The Trust did, however, achieve inpatient and outpatient waiting time targets and targets relating to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.

Chief executive of the Trust, Nick Carver, said: "I welcome the results of this annual health check. In many areas - such as achieving waiting time targets - we are performing well.

"We need to build on these achievements by making sure we do better in those areas where we didn't do so well."

He added: "While we have been rated weak on our finances, this was expected since the Trust is working hard to eradicate a long-standing, historical deficit problem. We have a strong recovery plan in place which is now in its second year and delivering results."

Bedfordshire Heartlands Primary Care Trust, responsible for Mid Beds, was judged as weak in both its use of resources - because it did not meet its financial targets for 2005/06 - and its quality of services.

The PCT did not meet existing national targets, was weak in achieving new national targets, but fully complied with core standards.

Bedfordshire Heartlands PCT and Bedford PCT merged to form part of the new Bedfordshire PCT on October 1.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire PCT said: "Although we remained on track throughout our two-year recovery plan to get back to recurrent financial balance this year and repay all of our historic debt next year, we knew we would be rated weak on finances until the job is done.

"However, we are surprised and disappointed with Heartlands' rating for the quality of services as the PCT fully met all 24 of the Healthcare Commission's core standards.

"We will be looking at the detailed information with a view to formally appealing if we believe it is incorrect."

North Hertfordshire and Stevenage PCT's score was fair for quality of services after it fully met core standards, partly met existing national targets and was weak in achieving new national targets.

The PCT was weak in its use of resources after failing to meet financial targets for 2005/06.

From October 1, North Hertfordshire and Stevenage PCT became part of the East and North Hertfordshire PCT.

Chief executive for East and North Hertfordshire PCT, Anne Walker, said:

"I and my new PCT team will look carefully at the results to see where the weaknesses are and what needs to be put in place to improve the health outcomes for local people.

"Financial recovery plans are in place but they must be carried through if we are to get anywhere near financial balance next year."

l Hospitals in Comet country are already failing to meet financial targets for this financial year.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust agreed with the East of England Strategic Health Authority to have a year-end deficit of no more than £8m.

The Trust is currently forecasting it will have a year-end deficit of £11.5m - compared to the £13m deficit year-end position forecast in June 2006.

For the first five months of the 2006/07 financial year, the Trust reported a year-to-date deficit of £4.999m, which is £1.589m worse than planned for at this point in time.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet