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Colchester: Hospital is “on the road to recovery”

Kim Hodgson interim chief executive at Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust

Kim Hodgson interim chief executive at Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust

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Cancer services in Colchester are “on the road to recovery” according to hospital bosses.

Highlights of a recent review of progress in improving cancer services were read out to members of Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust’s Board of Directors, which met in public yesterday.

A new, nationally recognised IT system is being rolled out for cancer services which will collate cancer patient data and has safeguards to make sure everyone is seen within the target time.

The system will be backed up by compliance managers so the service is not reliant on just the computer program.

Kim Hodgson, trust chief executive, quoted a recent review of work to improve services which found “green shoots of progress against the action plan”.

Ms Hodgson added: “It is pleasing to the board and reassuring to staff that we appear to be on the road to recovery.

“I believe the action plan can be changed because it is no longer fit for purpose. I don’t think it is relevant in terms of what we are trying to do in improving the quality of the organisation.

“We have agreed in principle to rework and refresh the various action plans we have in order to make them more relevant to the situation this trust is in now, a year later.”

Sean McDonnell, medical director at the trust, told the board work on a new governance structure was also nearly complete.

He added: “One of the things which came out of the cancer review was ‘we told you so’ but it had not been heard. We need to make sure the language is understood by all levels of the trust.”

However it was revealed at the meeting that in February the trust did not meet three cancer standards in breast cancer patients, 31-day and 62-day first treatments, mostly due to a lack of capacity in breast, urology and gastrointestinal departments.

But the performance was an improvement on the previous month when seven standards were missed, and additional clinics and staff have been put on to tackle the shortfall.

A total of 896 patients were listed in February, of which 96% were seen within two weeks.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission are next visiting the hospital on May 6-7.

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