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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 98

Date:- 10 May 2003

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Report with thanks the  NHS.

HEALTH Secretary Alan Milburn has published details of a new NHS Improvement programme to raise standards across the NHS over the next four to five years – targeting NHS hospitals and Primary Care Trusts. 

The result of the Government's NHS Improvement Programme, by this autumn every NHS hospital in England will have a self determined timetable - alongside the necessary support to deliver it – for reaching the consistently high standard of performance which would allow it to apply and achieve NHS Foundation Status.

Mr Milburn also announced that each wave of NHS Foundation Hospitals would help other NHS hospitals to improve as part of the Duty of Partnership in the Health and Social Care Bill, which the Commons discussed on Wednesday.

As part an ongoing assessment where individual NHS trusts need greatest help, a timetable will be drawn up locally to help determine when each hospital is likely to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

Alan Milburn said:-

"The standards of NHS care available to every local community matters. We are seeing real improvements in the NHS already as the investment and reforms we have already begun to make a difference. Waiting lists and waiting times are falling. There are thousands more doctors and tens of thousands more nurses. This NHS Improvement Programme is about making sure standards rise everywhere in hospitals and in primary care too."

"The NHS Improvement programme - including the extra financial support it brings - will help each and every NHS hospital that wishes to become an NHS Foundation Trust over the course of the next four to five years. By the autumn of this year each NHS Trust will have its own clear timetable to which it can work."

"This is a policy for all and not just for some. It is not about elitism or two-tierism. It is about levelling up not levelling down. It is about raising standards in every hospital so that no NHS hospital is left behind."

The NHS Improvement programme published today has been designed following the experience of improvement programmes in zero star trusts. The success of these programmes has been remarkable. For example, real progress has been made in NHS Trusts in Bedford and Brighton because of a clear assessment of their needs, tailored support, leadership development and targeted resources.

In July 2002 Bedford NHS Trust learnt that it had received a zero star performance rating which was predominantly due to failures against some of the key waiting times indicators. The trust was severely affected by this announcement as it had received a 2 star performance rating in 2001/02.

Bedford Trust was allocated a lead manager from the NHS Modernisation Agency Performance Improvement Team who has been working with the Trust on the development of a robust improvement plan with a tailored package of support.

Two areas have shown immediate and significant improvement. In cancer services, the proportion of patients seen within 2 weeks increased from less than 70 per cent in mid-2002 to 100 per cent by the end of the year. The whole process of GP referral has changed, for example, providing a central fax number for GPs to use when making referrals instead of the ad hoc system previously used. This was accompanied by the implementation of IT reports, which highlight patients who have
not been contacted by telephone within 48 hours. This system allows the cancer team to chase up delays quickly. 

In Accident and Emergency there has been major progress in improving patient flows thanks to a nurse practitioner service. This now enables nurses to carry out minor treatments without the patient having to see a doctor, and by implementing the 'see and treat’ system which separates the assessment of patients with minor conditions from those with more serious injuries and illnesses. In the space of a month, these two initiatives helped to improve access for patients requiring minor treatment, from 87 per cent seen within 4 hours to 98 per cent.

Brighton Healthcare NHS Trust received zero stars in the 2000-01 rankings having failed on outpatients waits, two week cancer waits and over 12 hour trolley waits. The trust has since merged with Mid Sussex NHS Trust to form Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

The Trust benefited from a number of NHS Modernisation Agency initiatives, including programmes to improve: emergency services; cancer care; cataracts, dermatology, ENT and orthopaedics; the availability of booked appointments for patients as well as a Change Agent team which worked jointly with Social Services to reduce delayed discharges. The Trust received more that £1.25m in central funds to support modernisation and £4m in 2002-03 from the NHS Bank.

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Tool Safety for small business.

A new package launched by the Health and Safety Executive entailing new health and safety tools for business advisers and their clients. 

The new tools unveiled by Health and Safety Commission member for small businesses, Judith Donovan CBE, at the RoSPA Safety and Health at Work Congress 2003.

These new health and safety tools join the already established suite of management best practice programmes called "CONNECT, Benchmark Index and Inside UK Enterprise" run by the Small Business Service. 

HSE is also developing by the end of the year a hazard identifier tool on the HSE website to support the best practice approach.  Users will be able to identify key hazards within their sector, directed to appropriate information.

Outlining the benefits of the tools Judith Donovan, CBE, Health and Safety Commissioner for Small Businesses said, "The main benefits are that business advisers will have the tools to help them provide assistance to small businesses on health and safety.  Particularly those who do not have in-house health and safety expertise will benefit from the help the advisers can give them."

"These tools will be a useful resource and will help small businesses to understand that health and safety should be an integral part of running a business, just like income tax or VAT.  I would encourage small businesses, particularly those thinking of starting a business or those who have no in-house knowledge of health and safety to seek advice and help from the Business Link operator network (0845 600 9006). "

"Health and safety doesn't have to get in the way of what you need to do in your business and it doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated but you do need to understand your health and safety responsibilities and take action.  Investing in appropriate health and safety measures can actually save small businesses money".


THE UK's favourite diva LESLEY GARRETT has been added to the bill for the Summer Pops, on July 14th, Britain's biggest boy band BLUE have added an extra date on July 23rd, and the Radio City Summer Pops Party featuring DJ Louis Hurst and a host of new pop guests including THE CHEEKY GIRLS has also been confirmed for July 12th.

Tickets for all three are on sale now from the Box Office on 0870 746 0000

Pops organisers have said the line-up for this year's Pops will be completed next week, with one more big name act to be confirmed, pushing the total to a record breaking thirty-one shows. The combined audience is now expected to top the 100,000 mark.

The list of stars appearing at the Pops that includes Peter Kay, Deep Purple, The Rat Pack, Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Simply Red and ZZ Top to name just a few. For dates and list of all the stars and other events why not click on our new listings section now? Click here to see Mersey Reporter Events. 

LESLEY GARRETT, who performs on Monday July 14th, has popularised classical music like probably no other artist over the last decade, through a succession of hit albums and her TV show "Lesley Garrett Tonight". She played the Liverpool Kings Dock as part of the 2001 Pops.

BLUE have confirmed that their second show for Wednesday July 23rd, and have thanked all their fans in Liverpool for snapping up tickets for the first show. A spokesman for the band said today:- "Liverpool was always going to be special because we knew there were so many Blue fans out there dying to see the band. Hopefully, everyone who couldn't get a ticket for the first show will get fixed up for the 2nd night!"

The Radio City Summer Pops Party, on Saturday July 12th, will be recorded live for transmission and will feature regular DJ Louis Hurst along with the hottest new pop bands around, including Chart sensations The Cheeky Girls. More names will be announced soon.

Mike Storey Leader of Liverpool City Council said:- ""The sell-out success of the first Blue show confirms that the Pops is appealing to every single age range. It shows the Pops has got a great reputation with the music industry's biggest names."

Chas Cole, Summer Pops promoter, said:- "We're nearly there, next week we will hopefully have everything complete for the biggest musical bill Liverpool has ever known."

Report with thanks to Ed Jones (CMCE)


Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.