Hospital half way to three star glory

PAUL Forden pledged 12 months ago to transform Ipswich Hospital into a top-performing three-star trust.It is now halfway towards that goal, doubling its one-star rating last year to two in this year's health league tables.

PAUL Forden pledged 12 months ago to transform Ipswich Hospital into a top-performing three-star trust.

It is now halfway towards that goal, doubling its one-star rating last year to two in this year's health league tables.

Chief executive Mr Forden heard the trust had achieved eight out of nine key targets sought by the independent Commission for Health Improvement assessment

He said: "No-one can disagree with the nine key features, largely about access and efficiency, which the star ratings are based on. These include meeting waiting time targets and achieving financial balance.


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"We achieved eight out of the nine key performance indicators during April 2002 to March 2003 – the time frame for the assessment – and we are very pleased to have been awarded two stars."

The trust failed to meet the key target of a specialist seeing 95% of patients suspected of having cancer within two weeks – the actual level dropped below 85%.

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Mr Forden said the hospital "marginally failed" to reach the target and added: "What is very important for our community is to know is that since November 2002, we have achieved 100% compliance."

During the past year, the trust boss said the 800-bed hospital had treated 400,000 patients more quickly than ever before.

"I'm particularly pleased that this independent, external assessment of the hospital highlights that we are judged to be significantly above average in surveys of patients attending the accident and emergency department," said Mr Forden.

"A staff opinion survey also showed that we are rated as above average. These two viewpoints are very important to us as we want to be the hospital of first choice and the employer of choice."

The hospital received a black mark for the number of people waiting more than six months for an inpatient appointment – more than 25% - which was rated as "significantly underachieving".

It also scored poorly on matters of privacy and dignity – due to the number of mixed sex wards.

Hospital bosses said both problems would be eased by the ongoing £34 million investment scheme, providing new wards, centres and theatre centres. They added they would be dealing with another failing highlighted, which was complying with the new deal on limiting junior doctors' hours.

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