Kettering General Hospital has agreed a set of urgent improvements to A&E arrangements to improve care for patients.
Health regulator Monitor has announced today (Friday, April 11) it is taking action after repeated breaches of a national target for the trust to see 95 per cent of patients in accident and emergency within four hours.
The regulator is also concerned that the trust’s weakness in providing high quality A&E care is indicative of wider problems in how it is being run.
However, the announcement comes at a time when the hospital has achieved a remarkable turnaround in its A&E four-hour transit time, with the trust having been one of the strongest performing trusts in England in February, March and so far in April.
So far in April, the hospital has seen more than 99 per cent of accident and emergency patients within four hours, well above the national standard.
Monitor has secured legally binding undertakings from the trust’s new leadership team that the necessary changes will be effectively implemented.
Under the new package of regulatory measures the trust has agreed to measures including the creation of an Emergency Care Action Plan by May 9, to undertake a thorough analysis of the causes of past breaches of the A&E target and to initiate a rolling weekly analysis programme to identify why targets have been missed.
The trust has also agreed to ensure it is compliant with all Health and Safety Executive and local fire service requirements.
Adam Cayley, regional director at Monitor, said: “We believe this strong package of regulatory measures will ensure the trust makes the necessary improvement that will enable patients to receive high quality care.
“We acknowledge the trust’s new leadership team has made progress in addressing long-running issues around A&E care. However, there is still much work to be done before the trust can be said to be consistently providing patients with satisfactory emergency care and is being run effectively.
“We will be monitoring the trust’s progress closely and will not hesitate to take further regulatory action if required.”
The announcement comes on the same day north Northamptonshire’s three MPs Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and Andy Sawford met the hospital’s new chief executive David Sissling, who took over earlier this month.
They said they were pleased with his commitment to improving the hospital and helping the MPs’ cross-party bid for funding from the Department of Health.
Mr Sissling said: “Today’s announcement is about the Trust signing up to a series of commitments to improve our performance in various areas in a consistent way moving forwards.
“After a long period of not achieving the A&E target, there is now some good news on our performance in this area.
“We achieved 98 per cent against the 95 per cent target for the month of February, 98.2 per cent in March and so far in April we are averaging 99.2 per cent.
“The trust has made tremendous progress in improving the emergency care experience for patients following the successful implementation of an Ambulatory Care Unit, Observation Unit, a new Weekend Discharge Team, and various other measures to improve the flow of patients through the hospital.
“We are reducing waiting and delays, seeing patients in more appropriate settings, and enabling people to go home more promptly as soon as they are fit enough to leave hospital. We are committed to maintaining this progress and will work with Monitor to assure them of this.
“On Board Governance we have changed our arrangements in line with expert advice and have a new team at Board level of three new Non-Executive Directors, a new Chairman, myself as the new Chief Executive, a new Director of Finance, a new Chief Operating Officer, and a new Director of Human Resources starting in June.
“We believe we are now in a much stronger position to tackle the issues facing Kettering General Hospital and have will be working hard to achieve all the undertakings we have set out with our regulator.”