This year marked the 70th anniversary of the national health service and with it came lots of amazing and inspirational stories about the difference the NHS has made both in Lincolnshire and nationally.
We started the financial year being told by the Care Quality Commission that we’d got better! They visited at a tough time when the Beast from the East was here but, despite that, they saw some great improvements.
There was the brilliant news about the new Lincoln Medical School being developed by the University of Nottingham and University of Lincoln, and the £1.8 million capital funding by the Department of Health and Social Care to develop medical education facilities at the Trust to support this.
As a Trust we have also committed to a £1 million investment to kick start the introduction of electronic health records, making them up to date and accessible at all times, leading to safer and more efficient services.
Our new text notifications for outpatient appointments launched this year which gives patients access to a portal showing the letter, any attachments and a map of how to get to the hospital. The portal allows them to accept or rebook the appointment.
We believe these and other investments in technology will result in a better experience for our patients and enable our staff to spend more time on patient care.
The National Centre for Rural Health and Care was launched, this is the brainchild of health and education professionals from Lincolnshire and the East Midlands. It aims to bring about improvements in healthcare delivery in rural settings, through research, better use of data, workforce developments and improved technology.
There is no doubt that 2018 has also presented us with some challenges:
- We have worked hard around our financial deficit
- Our staffing shortages resulted in the introduction of the interim women’s and children’s model at Pilgrim hospital
- Our performance is not always where we want it to be against the national targets, but we have plans in place to address this.
Despite this I have seen some great things which inspire me, make me proud and give me optimism for a better future.
We have developed some really innovative, transformative approaches never tried in the Trust before:
- The new trauma and orthopaedics pilot is going well and saw the Trust perform more orthopaedic elective operations in one week than in any other week before
- The £1.8 million investment in the “Big Change” project is leading to better urgent care pathways at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston
- We have seen 6,000 more outpatients compared to last year
- We have continued with our huge investment in fire safety (around £2m per month)
- Our innovative partnership with EMAS and SSG Health consultants saw our ambulance handover times almost half
- The introduction of quality matrons has seen 16 of the Trust’s 40 adult inpatient wards that have been regularly inspected and assessed against a range of measures and achieve green ratings and overall improvements
We have been recognised in national awards, including being shortlisted for the Nursing Times surgical nurse of the year, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) system led support for carers and we won the HSJ innovation in mental health for our partnership work around transforming ADHD care across the East Midlands. We also won The Sun nurse of the year and had 11 nominees shortlisted for the Lincolnshire Health Awards where we won five awards and received one highly commended.
We know we have lots to do, but the start of a new year gives us a great opportunity to pause, take stock and think about the progress we have made. I am sure 2019 will bring its own challenges, but I am hopeful that it will also provide more opportunities for us to work with our health partners, the public, our patients, their families and local residents to provide the best possible hospital services that they want, need and deserve.
I would like to thank all of my colleagues in the NHS and our Trust members for working so hard, often going above and beyond in their daily working lives and wish them and everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.