Kettering General Hospital bosses have admitted mistakes were made last winter but believe a new £2.7m plan will see them through this year’s cold weather.
According to documents discussed by trust board members, the planning process itself and staffing levels were inadequate last winter.
The minutes from the meeting last month state: “It was widely accepted that the trust did not adequately plan for the winter period with the majority of those elements deemed to have been successful only being implemented from December 2013 onwards.
“The trust didn’t start fully planning for winter until it was almost winter.”
However, the minutes go on to say: “On a positive note, it was agreed that the majority of both tangible and intangible changes during December 2013 and January 2014 all contributed to the strong performance delivered in the remainder of the period.”
This year’s plan, which covers October 2014 to March 2015, uses the successful elements from last year.
It also includes dedicated plans for issues such as improving on last year’s 76 per cent uptake of the offer of a flu jab by front line staff and planning staffing levels over Christmas.
The hospital has been given £750,000 to help it cope with the extra demand on its services over the winter.
The money comes from the Urgent Care Working Group and the Urgent Care Board, and will be used to provide acute surge capacity for the winter months.
The meeting stressed that the plan can be altered to meet demand.
The hospital’s chief operating officer Alan Gurney said: “It’s fair to say that historically the trust has had significant issues with achieving its key performance target of 95 per cent of patients being dealt with within four hours in A&E and this continued through the early part of last winter.
“But during January and February this year the hospital set up a number of new initiatives to address waiting times in A&E and patient flow throughout the trust.
“As a result we achieved a major turnaround in our A&E waiting times and we have become one of the best performing trusts in the country.
“While this winter is set to be a great challenge, we have learned a lot from previous years and have addressed a number of issues.
“Our planning for this winter started in April and is now well advanced, and the final details are being worked through with our GP and community health and social care partners.”