Praise from the top
Message to Western Sussex Hospitals staff from Dr George Findlay, Chief Medical Officer
The Secretary of State for Health has written to the trust to congratulate us on achieving a 97.5% Friends and Family Test recommendation rate in Outpatients. This result from June is an exemplary achievement and one that everyone involved should be extremely proud of.
Improving patient experience is of course our key Patient First True North goal and this excellent score becomes even more remarkable when you look at the real numbers involved.
However, first I would like share exactly what Jeremy Hunt MP said:
“The trust is a real example to others, demonstrating how to ensure that your patients get the care that they deserve. From visiting organisations throughout the country, I know that the immense amount of work that will have been behind this outcome cannot be underestimated.
“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the trust’s staff. Please do pass on my congratulations to all those who work at the trust; the service they give makes a real difference to the lives of many of the area’s sickest and most vulnerable patients.”
Nationally, the average score for Outpatients is 93.4%, up from 92% in 2015/16. Back then, we were very much an average performer too with a score of just 92.4%.
However, since the introduction of Patient First and our steadfast focus on continuous improvement we have steadily increased recommendation rates in Outpatients to around 97%. This puts us top in Sussex and Surrey and firmly in the top ten for NHS South.
The numbers of patients involved are huge. Last year, our outpatient teams had 594,337 appointments – each representing the production of booking letters and phone calls, the transfer and updating of notes, the welcome of clinic staff and not forgetting the actual care provided by our clinicians and therapists.
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17 we saw 9.4% increase in outpatient appointments and, furthermore, over the same period, two-week cancer referrals increased by 31.8%, which means not only are we seeing more people than ever before, but we are having to see a greater proportion of them within a shorter space of time.
It’s all too easy to remember the cancellations we’ve had to make or the clinic that ran late instead of realising what we are achieving each and every day.
We are acutely aware that there remains much more room for improvement but let’s not forget we are seeing improvement – our interventions and Patient First approach are making a real difference, where it counts, in our busiest departments for the people we serve.
And for this to be recognised personally by Secretary of State for Health is a tremendous achievement for everyone working for Western Sussex. Marianne and I and the whole executive team would like to wholeheartedly endorse and echo the Health Secretary’s comments and thank you for continually improving the care we provide.
One of the many other important areas in which we have also been seeing improvement is Sepsis, and particularly the number of patients receiving antibiotics within one hour of arrival, which is a key goal of our Quality Strategy.