COLUMN: Review of the Year by Dr Neill Hepburn of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust

Lincoln County Hospital. EMN-181115-113851001
Lincoln County Hospital. EMN-181115-113851001

This year marked the 70 th anniversary of the National Health Service and with it came lots of inspirational stories about the difference the NHS has made both in Lincolnshire and nationally.

We started the financial year being told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that we’d got better! There was also the brilliant news about the new Lincoln Medical School being developed by the University of Nottingham and University of Lincoln, and the £1.8million capital funding to develop medical education facilities at the Trust to support this.

There is no doubt that 2018 presented us with some challenges: We’ve worked hard around our financial deficit; Our staffing shortages resulted in the introduction of the interim paediatric and maternity model at Pilgrim hospital; Our performance is not always where we want it to be against the national targets, but we have plans in place.

We also had the report from the CQC about Pilgrim A&E. This made for difficult reading, but we have already addressed a number of the issues highlighted in the report and have invested a further £800k in additional staffing and support to the department to ensure patients receive safe care.

We have also seen some great things this year:

The new trauma and orthopaedics pilot is going well and saw the Trust perform more orthopaedic elective operations in one week than in any other week before. The £1.8 million investment in the “Big Change” project is leading to better urgent care pathways at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston; We have committed £1 million to kick start the introduction of electronic health records, making them up to date and accessible at all times, leading to safer and more efficient services; We have also been recognised in national awards.

We know we have lots to do, but the start of a new year gives us a great opportunity to pause and think about the progress we have made. I am sure 2019 will bring its own challenges, but I am hopeful that it will also provide more opportunities for us to work with our health partners, the public, patients, families and local residents to provide the best possible hospital services they want, need and deserve.

Neill Hepburn is medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.