Health staff hitting key targets

HEALTH staff working against “a backdrop of financial uncertainty” have been praised after hitting key Department of Health targets.Waiting lists at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds have been significantly reduced while hundreds of bed days and clinical hours have also been saved, the hospital's trust board were told at a meeting on Friday.

HEALTH staff working against “a backdrop of financial uncertainty” have been praised after hitting key Department of Health targets.

Waiting lists at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds have been significantly reduced while hundreds of bed days and clinical hours have also been saved, the hospital's trust board were told at a meeting on Friday.

Patients are also getting faster access to vital services with figures revealing that 98% of people visiting accident and emergency had waited no longer than four hours to be seen in the past year.

Although the trust had 28 cases of MRSA between April 2005 and March 2006, the board heard that this was two fewer than the target of 30 cases for the period - and there had only been seven cases in the last five months.

Praising all departments, trust chief executive Chris Bown said: “It really is an outstanding effort on the part of hospital staff.

“It is a credit to the whole team that a whole range of targets have been delivered against a backdrop of financial uncertainty, less resources, reduced beds and a reduction in theatre capacity.

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“It only goes to prove that through changing our clinical practices we can improve things for patients and save some money - it is impressive.”

The hospital board heard that by the end of March 2006, West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust had no patients waiting over six months for inpatient and day case treatment - which it has maintained since December 2005.

Everyone waiting for an outpatient appointment had seen a specialist within 13 weeks and all cancer patients were seen within two weeks from GP referrals.

Staff sickness levels had also reduced, with 4.6% recorded from 5% in 2004-5.

The trust has a commitment to the Department of Health's 10 high impact changes, set up last year and aimed at improving services.

The authority then prioritised five of these targets including placing day surgery at the forefront of hospital activity and cutting down the amount of time patients stay in hospital.