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Thinking about the future of the hospital…

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We are faced with three principal challenges. First, the financial squeeze continues as we pay off the national deficit. Second, a rapidly ageing population where we will have a million more people over seventy by 2020. Third, the rising expectations of those we serve – from new technologies and cancer treatments to the need for 7 day services.

On the surface of things the challenge seems simple enough… this organisation currently costs £210m pounds per year to run, yet we can only afford to be an organisation that costs £190m. We need to deliver services for £20m less every year, whilst keeping the same standards of safety, kindness and effectiveness. There isn’t enough money to carry on doing what we’ve always done. It is time to do things differently – and we only have two years to do it.

Why two years you might ask? We all read the papers and watch the news reports. If we carry on in the way we are currently delivering services the numbers will never add up. Not with the pressures of an ageing population, with increasing co-morbidities and complexity.

Despite all the challenges, I remain ambitious for our health service – an ambition I know you share. In West Cheshire we share a vision of a 7 day NHS, one where people can see a GP at weekends and where the quality of care doesn’t dip at the end of the week. It’s a service that the public have been asking for and it is one they deserve. It is also one we can deliver, as parts of the NHS are already proving.

We aren’t alone in this – in fact we can be feeling optimistic. We are already feeling the benefit of a new Strategic Leadership Group chaired by the leader of the Council. This is a step change in how we have worked previously with our partners. This group will oversee the activities designed to rebalance the system – namely stabilising acute services and transforming primary care. This hospital will lead the stabilisation agenda, re-shaping the supply with services that better meet the needs of patients particularly in areas such as outpatients and medicines management. We will reduce our costs by re-calibrating services and matching our workforce expertise with the acuity of the patient. By working as a system, and bringing together both planning and delivery we will make sure that improvements in one area do not create pressures somewhere else.

So as your Chief Executive there is much to be grateful for and a lot to look forward to in the weeks ahead. More than ever you are needed to get involved. You can start by taking the time to read ‘Stabilisation to Transform’ . It’s a work in progress, but with your feedback and input, we will tell the story of the future of our hospital in a way that all our staff and patients will better understand.

There are thousands of dedicated professionals across the Countess who want to improve the care they give to patients. With a tighter grip on our finances, ensuring every penny goes as far as it can towards this goal, we can not only cut the cost of care, we can transform it for the better.

Best wishes – Tony Chambers, Chief Executive

About the Author

Tony image

Chief Executive of Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust.

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