Hospital trust sets out 'ambitious' plan for the coming year

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has set out its priorities and objectives for the next year which includes improving ‘emergency pathways’ and ‘creating a sustainable workforce’.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

The trust met on Thursday when the plan was formally approved following a report which laid out five objectives.

They were ‘continuous improve care for patients and community', 'restore and sustain orthopaedics', 'achieve 28-day faster cancer diagnosis standard', and 'improve flow through hospitals through their Emergency Care Improvement Programme’.

The final objective is to ‘improve efficiency, deliver within their budget and demonstrate financial prudency’.

Chief Executive of the Trust, Louise Barnett, admitted that the plan was ‘ambitious’ and that they were ‘committed to achieve high quality care for patients in a sustainable way going forward’.

She said: “There is significant risk in this plan, we are dependent on system partners and delivering our own contribution towards those plans, at what is an incredibly pressured time for teams because of the amount of work we have got going on.

“We are asking staff to first and foremost look after our patients each and every single day but also lead and contribute towards improvements as well. Our teams are involved and are doing an incredible job to take that forward.

“We must acknowledge the demands while looking to implement things like our electronic patient record, while there may also be further industrial strike action.

“We are focusing on what I believe to be the important things. We will need further actions to mitigate the risk in terms of the challenges we are experiencing already at this part of the year. We have got open and constructive dialogue with our system partners to ensure there is transparency over our shared expectations over what we all want to do to support our community to receive the care they need.”

The plan reflects national priorities which include improving A&E waiting times and ‘reduce elective long waits and cancer backlogs’.

The trust’s proposals also state that care waits of over 65 weeks should be ‘eliminated’ from March 2024.

The Trust said that it would be ending May 2023 with zero patients waiting over 78 weeks for care.

As part of their Workplace Transformation the Trust wants to reduce the dependency on agency staff by improving recruitment and retention programmes.

They have a number of ‘assumptions incorporated into their plan’ which includes recruiting 193 additional nurses by March 2024 and reducing their number of agency health care assistants by 80 per cent ‘compared to current levels’.

A risk as part of their approved plan is that the portion of overseas nurses of the total workforce was 54 per cent by March 2023 with a ‘high proportion attached to a visa with work restrictions’.

The budget proposals indicate that the trust will be £45.462million away from delivering the required break-even position in 2023/24.

The report adds: “Within the Trust, specialty level activity, workforce and financial plans have been developed, extended to include cost pressures, service developments, and recovery and restoration plans. Due to funding constraints across the system, a large proportion service developments have not been agreed to be funded, and so will sit as risk within the financial plan.”

Helen Troalen, director of finance, said that the figures had a ‘tacit acknowledgement’ from NHS England.

“This plan is not without risk,” said Mrs Troalen. “There is a reliance on delivery of this plan on system partners to ensure that appropriate out of hospital capacity is available to allow us to end the reliance on escalation beds in our organisation.”

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