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A&E waiting times investigation - statement from Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust has responded to the extension of Monitor's investigation into its A&E performance.

The Trust says it welcomes the news after missing the target for A&E waiting times by more than 5% last year.

The Trust also says major improvements are already being made in Warrington's A&E performance and that the Trust is aiming to meet the target of treating 95% of patients within 4 hours on an ongoing basis from the end of the month.

Simon Wright, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at Warrington and Halton Hospitals, said:

“We’re working towards getting back to the 95% A&E four hour target on a sustained basis by the end of June and look forward to sharing our progress with Monitor. We saw improvements over April and have moved to treating over 97% of all patients within four hours in the department in the last week so real progress is being made. The entire hospital team has worked tirelessly to help us achieve this and we’re pleased to see the improvements already being demonstrated after a challenging year."

“We hope that working with Monitor will allow us to look at emergency care across the wider community and how we can work with GPs, social services and community services locally to help prevent hospital admission and quickly move patients back home once their hospital care is complete."

"Although the target focuses on A&E, we’ve already worked with our partners to concentrate on improving flow through the hospital so A&E doesn’t become a bottleneck when demand increases. Our Clinical Commissioning Group have funded extra intermediate care beds at Warrington Hospital which have made a real difference and allowed us to move patients through the hospital system in a much better way so beds are available for emergency admissions."

“As a hospital, we’re also making other changes to improve the way the emergency side of the hospital works with the creation of pathways to reduce hospital admissions and the opening of our Urgent Care Centre at Halton General Hospital in Runcorn. That service can manage around 70% of the conditions routinely presenting into A&E, allowing a local solution for the people of Runcorn that reduces the pressure on Warrington’s A&E."

– Simon Wright, COO and deputy chief executive at Warrington and Halton Hospitals

Concern over palliative care deaths in the region

The way hospitals record deaths in the region could be covering up poor treatment says a new report.

Figures from Dr Foster show a dramatic rise in the number recorded as needing "palliative care" at the end of their lives, with some saying more than 35% of their patients die this way.

  • 38.03% (610 deaths) at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were palliative in 2012 - almost double the 19.24% in 2008.
  • The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust also jumped from 1.35% palliative deaths in 2008 to 29.23% in 2012.

Experts fear hospitals could actually be hiding the fact patients were admitted for failed treatment. Data from health analysts Dr Foster shows that, across England in 2012/13, 36,425 deaths were coded as palliative these deaths are not included in the hospital standardised mortality ratio.

"Poor quality data is harming patients because you can't see where things are going wrong and you can't see where there are issues.

"If the data is not being recorded consistently and, moreover, if that isn't picked up because of a lack of auditing there is a risk that poor patient care is being disguised, and the public misled.

"We're worried this issue is not being given sufficient priority. The bottom line is it could increase the possibility of failing to identify another Mid Staffs and potentially cost lives."

– Roger Taylor, director of research at Dr Foster

"Hospitals are clearly fiddling these figures and that frightens me. Hospitals are just not open enough to admit what is happening - instead they dream new ways to disguise it. All the talk of transparency is just that - talk."

– Joyce Robins from Patient Concern

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The NHS needs high-quality mortality data. We would expect that all NHS Trusts have robust auditing systems in place."

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Salford Royal "Best Place to Work in NHS"

Salford Royal’s the best place to work in the NHS according to a national survey of staff.

That's out of all NHS provider organisations. Staff were satisfied in their work and would recommend it as a place to work or be treated.

“We are absolutely thrilled with these results, the best results across all Trusts, of every type. It's absolutely fantastic. It’s now our ambition to be considered one of the best places to work in the country, not just in the NHS, but in any sector or industry.

“We know that there’s a strong link between highly engaged workforces and high quality patient care so these results are not only fantastic results for our people but for our patients too."

– Chief Executive Sir David Dalton

Hospital asks patients with Norovirus symptoms to stay away from emergency department

Patients with norovirus are been asked to stay away from Leighton Hospital in Crewe Credit: Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Patients with symptoms of the Norovirus are being asked to stay away from Leighton Hospital in Crewe, after admissions exceeded the average.

In a statement the trust said: "The Trust isencouraging members of the public to only use its Emergency Department forserious and life-threatening conditions such as heart-attacks, strokes, seriousaccidents and breathing difficulties.

"Self-care is oftenthe best choice to treat common illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds,sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains, all of which can often betreated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.

"For expert advice and treatment, without the need to wait for a GP appointment, local pharmacies are able to provide a confidential service, as can NHS 111 and the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk. NHS Choices can also help you locate your nearest NHS services such as GPs, dentists and pharmacies."

Video: Improvements at Cumbrian maternity unit praised by watchdog

A maternity unit in Cumbria under investigation after the deaths of a number of mothers and babies has been praised for making improvements.

The health watchdog the Care Quality Commission published its findings after an unannounced visit to Furness General Hospital in Barrow.

Campaigners who've criticised standards of care at the unit say it'll take time before they are fully convinced it's safe.

This report from Amy Welch:

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Patients recalled in Blackpool breast cancer inquiry

The investigation follows a delay in diagnosing one patient's breast cancer Credit: PA

Twenty four patients have been recalled by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals after an investigation of delay in diagnosing breast cancer.

A radiologist has been referred to the General Medical Council and no longer works for the trust.

It has issued a statement saying it carried out a review of the radiologists reports and ultrasound scans following concerns about a delay in the diagnosis of one patient.

Out of 472 scans 24 caused concerns following advice from experts.

Dr Mark O’Donnell, Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, apologised for any anxiety caused adding said: “All the patients at any possible risk of delayed diagnosis have been contacted and we have arranged to see them as quickly as possible'.