Staff at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital (RHCH), part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed local Member of Parliament Steve Brine on 29th April to review the progress being made on reducing the elective care backlog and on the improvements to maternity services.
Reducing elective waiting lists
Like every NHS organisation, the trust saw its waiting lists grow significantly over the course of the pandemic and it is now focused on bringing it back under control.
“Due to Covid-19 we had to take the difficult decision to suspend much of our non-urgent care; for instance, hip and knee replacements,” said Alex Whitfield, chief executive at Hampshire Hospitals.
“However, we are very aware that people have been on waiting lists for a long time and treating these patients can make a huge difference to people both physically and mentally.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but we also know we have a long way to go to reducing the current wait times.”
The issue of the elective backlog is one that Steve Brine MP has been active in raising, both locally and at national level.
“Reducing waiting times and ensuring everyone can access they care they need is one of my top priorities – both here and in Westminster,” said Steve.
“That’s why it is so important for MP’s to be able to visit staff on the frontline. By doing this, we can learn directly about what’s happening, what is working and, just as importantly, what doesn’t.
“The staff at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital did incredible things throughout the pandemic – going above and beyond each and every day. My visit is to hear first-hand what they need in order to continue to deliver outstanding care as we look past the pandemic.”
Focus on maternity services
Maternity services at Hampshire Hospitals have been undergoing a series of changes as part of an ongoing improvement programme, following a unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission in November 2021 after which the service rating was reassessed to ‘requires improvement’.
“I had my own children at the Royal Hampshire and so this ward and team both hold a very special place in my heart,” said Steve.
“The commitment and dedication of the staff here is plain to see from the moment you walk in the door and was delighted to be able to see the impact the changes they are making for myself.”
Following the CQC inspection the team are undertaking more than 60 actions to improve the service, many of which were underway before the inspection itself.
“Our maternity teams have worked hard to deliver improvements to the service – including enhanced training, new equipment and investment in the environment – whilst our staffing levels have also improved following a sustained recruitment and retention programme,” continued Alex.
“We know we have further to go, but huge strides have been made and these improvements are already having such an impact and making a real difference. More importantly the mums who use the service have been hugely supportive and given fantastic feedback.”