Hospital is hindered by lack of cash

MONEY and resources continue to hinder Hinchingbrooke Hospital, according to the unsurprising findings in the Healthcare Commission annual review. The Huntingdon Hospital has £40m of debt, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust is expected to finish the financ

MONEY and resources continue to hinder Hinchingbrooke Hospital, according to the unsurprising findings in the Healthcare Commission annual review.

The Huntingdon Hospital has £40m of debt, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust is expected to finish the financial year £53m in debt, and locally, only Papworth and Addenbrooke's hospitals are commended on their financial position.

But the report also recognises - at least in some parts of the document - that the health care in Huntingdonshire is excellent, while hospital management believe the review does not reflect the hard work of the past year.

The hospital has secured its long-term future and the majority of services at the site and is transfering others into the community. While some jobs are being cut, it should soon be able to work within its budget while looking to others to London to with the debt.


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The commission rated Hinchingbrooke as "excellent" for its admissions management, diagnostic services and medicines management, but "weak" for its use of resources and "fair" for its quality of services.

Mark Millar, chief executive of Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: "We recognise the need to improve our use of resources and have put new systems in place to address this issue. We expect to improve on this rating for 2007/8.

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"We are looking at solutions to the areas where we rate as "under achieving" such as on-going liaison with Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust in maintaining patients' delayed transfer of care to a minimal level and ongoing improvements in use of resources and quality of services."

The marks for 2006/7 are the same as those for the previous year.

Mr Millar added: "The trust has maintained its ratings from last year. Therefore it has, as a minimum, maintained its services and in some cases improved the experience for patients."

The hospital has also improved its performance when it comes to national targets achieving its management of MRSA and other infections, meeting waiting time targets, including all cancer referrals and a four-hour wait in A&E.

According to Mr Millar, this has seen patient experience improve overall.

Over at Papworth Hospital there was a double excellent rating from the Healthcare Commission.

The hospital scored top marks for its "quality of services", which covers a range of areas including safety of patients, cleanliness and waiting times. It was also marked excellent for its finances.

Robert McEwan, director of operations said: "We are delighted that Papworth has scored excellent in this national ratings review. This is the highest result possible and demonstrates the tremendous team work of our staff at Papworth who have contributed to this outstanding result."

Stephen Bridge, chief executive, added: "Excellence in patient care is what we continue to strive for and this result acknowledges our continued efforts."

Ambulance crews in the East of England were also praised by the commission.

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS), formed in July last year, received a score of good for quality of service, placing it in the top 40 per cent of ambulance services in the country. It was rated fair for use of resources.

A tightening in the rules governing ambulance services means that response times are now measured from the moment a 999 call is put through to an emergency control room - before the caller's location and problem are known.

INFORMATION: The health check reviews all NHS trusts based on 24 core standards in areas such as safety, clinical effectiveness and patient focus. The ratings are based on a range of information gathered throughout the year, including service reviews and inspections, as well as the data collected by other organisations.

The survey reviewed all 394 NHS trusts in the country and Papworth was one of only five per cent of trusts who scored excellent in both categories.

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