“I’m looking forward to them coming back.”
That was the message from the boss of Morecambe Bay’s health trust in relation to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection due to take place next month.
Jackie Daniel and other senior managers from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) took questions from members of the public at their Annual Members Meeting at Lancaster Town Hall last Thursday, September 15.
Mrs Daniel said that one of the highs for the trust in 2016 was coming out of special measures, which had been “a real confidence booster” for everyone.
She said: “I can’t pretend that the health service is not under extreme pressure.
“You’ll have heard about the pressures we have in trying to safely discharge patients from A&E.
“But peoples’ illnesses don’t start when walking into A&E. We spend more than £800million each year on health in the bay area, and so making sure we get every penny’s worth is really important to us.”
Mrs Daniel said that in 2015/16 there had been a 25 per cent reduction in complaints to the trust, and 93 per cent of 37,000 patients said they would recommend the hospitals to friends and family. She said: “We’ve got more doctors, nurses, admin and clerical staff working in our hospitals than ever before.
“We’re investing £1m on wards at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. That’s all good but we know we’ve got more to do.”
Senior trust managers took questions from individuals and organisations in attendance, including Steve Dunstan, from North West Blood Bikes, Alison Isherwood, a volunteer at St John’s Hospice, Dave Higham, chief executive of The Well, in Lancaster, and Neil Townsend, chief executive of CancerCare.
Issues raised included the cost and provision of transport to and from hospital for people living in rural areas, parking at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, and whether there was money available for local organisations that already helped reduce pressure on the hospitals.
Mrs Daniel said: “There’s no extra money out there, but we’ll be encouraging partners to come forward to bid for the money we’ve got. It’s about creating a different way of operating.”
Steve Dunstan, from North West Blood Bikes, also raised questions about the trust’s beauracracy. He said that money saving ideas suggested by partner organisations often took a long time to be actioned, or were not dealt with at all.