With a dedicated workforce of more than 7,500 staff and volunteers and an income of £570m, we are one of the larger acute trusts in the country.
We provide care for a population of around 750,000 people across north east London (NEL) and that number is predicted to increase by 15 per cent over the next ten years. We serve three London boroughs with diverse populations, and more than half of our workforce identify as Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic. In addition, eight out of every ten employees are women, and most of our workforce lives within the host boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, and Redbridge.
We also provide healthcare services to people in south west Essex, and specialist neurosciences services to the whole of the county.
Our services include all the major specialties of large acute hospitals, operating from two main sites - King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital in Romford. We also provide outpatient services at Brentwood Community Hospital, Barking Hospital, Loxford Polyclinic and Harold Wood Polyclinic. We have two of the busiest emergency departments in London.
Over recent years, our Trust has made significant improvements to the quality of care we provide patients. Four years ago, following a re-inspection of services by the Care Quality Commission, we were taken out of quality special measures, and have improved our overall rating from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires Improvement’. Since then, ongoing improvements in the quality of care have been recognised by various external partners and organisations. In early 2018, the Trust entered Financial Special Measures. A Financial Recovery Plan is in place to deliver the financial savings required over the coming years.
Like other trusts across the country, Covid-19 meant we had to transform, overnight, the way we cared for patients and delivered services. Collaborative working with system colleagues ensured we were one of the first to set up a long Covid clinic that is proving invaluable in supporting the ongoing needs of residents. During the vaccine rollout, King George Hospital was designated a vaccination centre and was established and launched in just seven days.
We have been making good progress as we respond to the needs of those people whose treatment was delayed by the virus. Our teams have been finding innovative new ways to tackle waiting lists and get patients the care they need as quickly as possible. And they’ve come up with equally inventive names, from super clinics such as Bones R Us through to the Scalpel Project and Gastronaughts!
We know that we have much work to do to improve waiting times for urgent and emergency care, and performance against the four-hour emergency access standard remains challenged, in comparison to most other London trusts. This aspect of the organisation’s work will be one of the many benefits of closer collaboration with Barts Health. Working with them and with all partners across NEL, we will find a sustainable solution that will enhance patient care.
We are particularly proud of our regional Neurosciences Centre; Radiotherapy Centre; Hyper Acute Stroke Unit; and dedicated breast care service at King George Hospital. We’re also pleased to be part of the NEL Cancer Alliance.
As well as having a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at Queen’s Hospital, the stroke service has transformed from being ‘D’ rated to the highest possible ‘A’ rating. The improvements that have taken place have included changing stroke consultants’ working patterns to match demand and introducing a virtual ward that allows patients, where appropriate, to receive care and support in their own homes.
In 2017, the Trust unveiled one of the UK’s first Halcyon radiotherapy machines, which is just one example of the cutting-edge treatment we now offer patients. We also provide Ethos therapy, which uses artificial intelligence to tailor treatment to patients’ changing daily anatomy (in terms of their tumour’s shape and position) and are improving our diagnostics equipment and space at King George Hospital.
Other investments include £11.5m being spent to expand and enhance critical care at both sites, as well as improvements to our Emergency Departments.
We offer staff the opportunity to train to become nurses, while continuing to work full-time in our hospitals. This pioneering Registered Degree Nursing Apprenticeship is transforming lives - and helping to reduce shortages - by supporting staff who wish to progress to become nurses and were unable to undertake the usual degree route after leaving school. Growing our own nursing workforce through this route is just one of the ways we have reduced our nursing vacancies and improved retention rates.
Patient experience is hugely important to us as a Trust, and has been recognised at the national Patient Experience Awards, particularly for the support we provide to bereaved families. We are also developing our staff networks and we are determined to continually improve our culture for the benefit of our workforce and our patients. We have appointed a Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion who is leading the work to foster a culture that is fair, equitable and inclusive and where every voice counts.
With such continuous improvement always at the forefront of our thinking, we are proud to have partnered with the Virginia Mason Institute, along with four other trusts in the country. Now, with the five-year collaboration at an end, we are continuing to embed The PRIDE Way as our methodology for quality improvement.