The chief executive of a struggling NHS trust has indicated that it will meet government targets in the foreseeable future.
John Adler of the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust indicated that the organisation will comply with the four-hour target for Accident and Emergency next year.
Adler was speaking at the opening of a brand new Accident and Emergency department, which has cost £48 million to construct.
The additional capacity that the new department delivers will play a significant role in the major drive to address flow problems within the trust.
It is hoped that this will help the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust achieve the 10% increase in performance required to meet the intended benchmark.
“We are still in discussions with NHS Improvement, but we have said [provisionally] we will be at 90 per cent by September, and 92 per cent by March 2018…The reason it’s 92 rather than 95 is that, although our emergency department will be big enough, we still have a capacity deficit,” Adler commented.
In opening the new facility, Adler stated that the previous Accident and Emergency department had been nothing short of woefully inadequate.
And the Chief Executive asserted that this had massively contributed to the poor performance of the trust.
The new, purpose-built emergency floor is the first major investment as part of a five year, £320 million plan to upgrade the trust.
Adler went on to explain some of the problems that the trust had recently experienced.
“We have a peak deficit of about 105 beds. That can be enough to be the difference between outflow from the emergency department and clinical decision unit working and not working.”
The deficit represents 5% of the total bed count at the trust.
In an attempt to gain a holistic understanding of the problems at the trust, two trials have been conducted in recent months.
“These proactively switched off [most] electives in order to artificially generate more medical beds for emergency flows. This immediately [pushed] performance into the 90s, within 48 hours, which showed a good chunk of our problem is in downstream capacity,” Adler asserted.
Having gone through this process, it has been confirmed that the trust has no further plans to restrict any elective procedures.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust was created in April 2000 with the merger of the Leicester General Hospital, Glenfield Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary.
At that time it was one of the six biggest NHS trusts in England with a budget of over £600 million per annum and 12,000 staff.