The main hospital trust for Brighton and Hove has hit its 18-week target for treating patients across all 16 of its specialties for the first time.
Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This first for us is of enormous credit to everyone involved and a moment for real celebration not just in terms of a target achieved but because of what it means for our patients.
“We now need to maintain the momentum and ensure we capture how we approached this, and any new ways of working which helped us get there, so this learning can be played into the next steps of the Foundations for Success work which I circulated on Friday (16 August).”
He said: “The 18-week target said that by the end of December 2008 for at least 95 per cent of non-admitted patients and 90 per cent of admitted patients, the wait from referral to first hospital treatment would be no more than 18 weeks.
“This included all the stages that lead up to treatment, including outpatient consultations and diagnostic tests and procedures.
“The 18-week target was different from previous waiting time targets because instead of focusing on a single stage of treatment it measured the whole patient pathway and in doing so exposed some ‘hidden waits’ which historically had taken weeks or months to complete.
“When the 18-week target was introduced it presented every hospital in the country with a massive, and for many seemingly insurmountable challenge but we did it.
“Three years on, it was becoming apparent that by monitoring the 18-week target for all admitted and non-admitted patients, a trust could be hitting the target every month even if there were specialties that were consistently not.
“In other words excellent performance in some specialties was covering up problems in others.
“From April 2012 the target was adjusted to track individual performance in all specialties and a third indicator was added to ensure patients who were not seen within 18 weeks were still treated equitably – a new challenge, for everyone.”
Mr Kershaw said that his trust had met the target in all 16 specialties for the first time last month (July).
“The areas looked at included patient information, privacy and dignity, care and welfare of patients, safeguarding, cleanliness and infection control.
“And the inspector has indicated that both sites were fully compliant across the board.
“The inspector also commented on how impressed she was with the staff she spoke to and the evidently high standards of care being delivered to patients.
“My thanks to everyone involved in these inspections and to everyone who works at sites other than the County and Princess Royal (in Haywards Heath).
“We don’t always pay enough attention to the many smaller sites from which we provide services including Brighton General Hospital and Lewes Victoria Hospital as well as Hove Polyclinic and the Park Centre.
“Instead of describing ourselves as one trust across two sites we need to start describing ourselves as one trust across many sites.”