Key priorities to improve struggling services at Shropshire's main hospitals set out by its new chairwoman

Key priorities to improve struggling services at Shropshire's main hospitals have been set out by its new chairwoman.

Princess Royal Hospital, Telford
Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has formed an alliance with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to address the governance and leadership issues needed to improve services.

The Shropshire trust has been in special measures since 2018 and the alliance, which came into force last month, will work on the delivery of a "rapid quality improvement plan".

In her first chance to speak at an official public meeting of the board – which was streamed online for the first time since the outbreak of the virus, Dr Catriona McMahon said she believed there was a 'real desire to achieve a lot of the objectives and a lot of the ambitions' being set out.

Dr McMahon, who was a non-executive director at UHB and replaces outgoing chairman Ben Reid, said: "Our critical objective, it must be the improvement of patient experience, patient care, patient safety in this organisation.

"As a consequence I am highlighting certainly from this period of time that my three key areas of focus over the next six months, if not longer, are going to be focusing on the clinical and care quality.

"I'm mindful of the fact we are moving into the winter period, but also mindful there is a larger agenda as well that we need to be working with; recognising at the moment our focus is on the inputs – in other words making sure we have the right processes, resources, pathways – but moving as quickly as we can to reporting and responding in terms of outputs – in other words the patient experience and clinical outcomes.

"A second focus is going to be about looking at the governance of the organisation, looking at how we as a board work, looking at how the non-executives and partnerships with the executives work to really strengthen the information flows and the sight of what's actually happening within the organisation and the assurance systems that will form out of that strategy.

"The third piece which is critical to both of those is looking at the culture, the leadership and our people."

A number of people have been drafted in from UHB to form a key part of the targeted support to improve services for patients at SaTH.

They include the trust's new director of nursing Hayley Flavell, Cherry West, chief transformation officer at UHB and Richard Steyn, associate medical director at UHB.

UHB runs the biggest hospital in the Midlands – Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham – along with Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull hospitals.

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