As we approach the middle of March and draw closer to year end, I particularly wanted to focus today’s message on how we’re doing and where we need to focus over the next few weeks.
You’ll remember last month I talked about the need to create around £800,000 of additional flexibility in order to meet our financial plan. This hasn’t been easy and I know how difficult the past few weeks have been for colleagues but your hard work is paying off and it looks as if we will now end the year with a surplus of around £14 million. That includes £7 million which we have created ourselves, and £7 million from STF (Sustainability & Transformation Funding) which is essentially a bonus for achieving our financial control total.
In the context of other providers, this would mark us as one of the top performing Trusts in the country which would be a tremendous achievement. What’s also important is that we haven’t made this money simply by doing more work to earn more income; we’ve done this by improving quality for our patients and maximising efficiency gains which is the only real way to a sustainable future. I know colleagues have been really focused on this, and we’ve proved it can be done even when we’re under huge pressure which makes our achievement even more remarkable. Thank you all.
Of course our other big performance area focuses on the four hour waiting target; with the recent adverse weather and subsequent high demand we haven’t had a good start to March. Our Spring to Green week, which was intended to help reset our hospitals after what should have been the end of winter, wasn’t able to bring us the benefits we’d hoped for either. But, it is still possible to deliver the 95% standard by the end of the month if we pull together and really focus our efforts. We’re currently at 87.6% for March, and our target is 95% by month end.
I know that’s a big ask, and requires the whole hospital to work together, but with a few good days we can do it. Remember, although we’re talking about a target, the target itself is based on excellent evidence about patient care, quality and experience. If you are thinking to yourself, I wonder how things are in A&E, then please consider how you can influence this. Making every day count, ensuring all our patients only have ‘green’ days, and that every patient that can safely leave the hospital does so are all things we should be doing.
To end the year with one of the best financial positions in the country, alongside positive performance, would put us in the best possible position as we start the new financial year.
At the same time, I recognise that your continued hard work does have an impact and colleagues are feeling the pressure. Our staff survey results which were published earlier this week show some really positive results, which is reassuring, but there are still areas of concern. For example, 78% of colleagues reported working additional hours and we will be working with our HR business partners to analyse these figures in more detail to see how we can offer more support. We can also see that this additional pressure has led to lower numbers of appraisals being carried out and we’re introducing a new, simpler process from April to help. We’ll be doing more detailed analysis over the coming weeks, working with colleagues to understand the detail and how we can work together to put in the right solutions.
Overall I continue to be really proud of how we’re doing and of the continued support colleagues give both to each other and to our patients. Last week I was invited to talk to the Rotary Club in Woking and whilst they all had positive stories to tell about their experiences here, they had no idea how good we really are. What struck me was how well we are doing, and how well we are coping with what seems to be an increasingly challenging picture. We should certainly be giving ourselves a bit pat on the back.
In the meantime, I wish you all a relaxed weekend, whatever you are doing. And for those of you for whom it matters, have a Happy Mothers’ Day.
With best wishes,