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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 18:31 GMT
St Peter's and Ashford Hospitals
St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey
St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey
Ashford and St Peter's Hospital NHS Trust has been told it needs new managers despite getting a largely favourable report from the NHS standards watchdog last year.

The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) found that standards were generally good.

Staff were found to be friendly and caring towards their patients and both hospital sites were clean and tidy, with good access down all main corridors.

Ashford Hospital
Ashford Hospital
However, the CHI inspectors found that the trust had a particular problem with delaying the discharge of patients who were well enough to leave hospital.

In March 2001, there were 56 delayed discharges at the trust. Of these, 34 were at Ashford and 22 at St Peter's.

A&E concerns

CHI inspectors were also concerned about the quality of care provided by the trust's accident and emergency department.

There were also concerns about patient privacy and dignity within mixed sex bays in the medical assessment and admissions unit.

The trust subsequently received a zero rating in the hospital performance indicators published last autumn. The poor rating was partly a result of long waiting times for first outpatient appointment and a high number of operations cancelled on the day.

Andrew Morris
Andrew Morris: Improved performance
Writing to the Trust Chairman, NHS Chief Executive Nigel Crisp said he recognised that improvements had since been made in a number of key areas.

But he said: "Nevertheless, if the progress which has been achieved is to be maintained and built on, there is a need to replace the current transitional management arrangements with sustainable capacity."

The new trouble shooter brought in to improve performance at St Peters, Andrew Morris, is in optimistic mood.

He said: "I'm very confident that we will deliver and at the end of the day waiting is the number one concern of the public and I think you will see a big difference as far as the performance of this trust is concerned."

Foundation

The trust was formed following the merger of Ashford Hospital & St Peter's Hospital in April 1998.

Ashford Hospital in Ashford, Middlesex, has approximately 250 beds and provides a wide range of medical and surgical services.

It also provides accident and emergency, intensive care, outpatients services, ophthalmology, a dedicated stroke unit, and a six day renal dialysis unit.

Most of the wards and many departments are located in buildings opened in 1995 and no patient area is more than thirty years old.

Sister Juliet Stevenson
Sister Juliet Stevenson says resources are stretched all year round
The hospital serves people living in Ashford, Staines, Sunbury, Shepperton, Feltham, Hanworth, Bedfont, Hampton Wick, and Wraysbury.

St Peter's Hospital, in Chertsey, Surrey, has 400 acute beds.

It serves people living in Woking, Weybridge, Chertsey, Staines and Walton on Thames.

Originally St Peter's Hospital was built to serve casualties of the Second World War.

Over the years, it has been rebuilt, developed and extended to include maternity services, a department/clinic area, a new theatre complex.

A new A&E, ITU and Orthopaedic Unit opened in the summer of 1998.

Panorama

St Peter's featured last year in a BBC Panorama documentary about the pressures facing the NHS.

The programme was given unique access to the hospital for two months over the busy winter period.

The programme revealed that the hospital's beds were nearly always full, and as a result the A&E department was frequently over-flowing.

Ward sister Julia Stevenson told the programme: "The winter crisis didn't end for us last winter, it carried on right through the summer."

See also:

24 Mar 01 | Health
Grim reality of the NHS
11 Feb 02 | Health
Analysis: Franchising hospitals
11 Feb 02 | Health
Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust
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