No Formal Action Over Berkshire Failings

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust Missed Waiting Time Targets


Executives from the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have been told they will face no action over breaches in waiting time targets.

It had been thought that Monitor, the UK's health regulator, would launch sanctions against the trust after it failed to meet its four-hour waiting time targets on three occasions over a period of 21 months.

But now the organisation has said its investigation has been concluded and its focus will now turn to helping Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust achieve its targets, following a report stating the trust has improved over the last few months.

Part of the reason Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust managed to avoid sanctions involved its planned £800,000 of investment in a new accident and emergency expansion scheme, which was approved in February 2014 and would mean more patients could be seen at the same time.

One of the main improvements will involve the creation of ten additional "major bays" that will provide immediate care and triage for patients with serious injuries like heart attacks, or those with head trauma.

But even though hospital executives have hailed the new £800,000 investment, managers said it would not provide a permanent solution and would only help in the short-term while a more long-term project is planned.

Paul Streat, regional director at Monitor, said: "We have looked very closely at how this trust is being run and we have decided that its management is taking the necessary steps to improve its performance for patients."

Last week, Monitor announced it is opening an investigation into the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

Monitor is concerned about governance at the trust, following the resignation of Lord Bradley, chair of the institution.

Christie is a specialist cancer hospital, but has missed a number of targets in recent years and has been told it must improve by a number of watchdogs and health authorities.

Monitor stated that its investigation will conclude in the coming months.

Expert Opinion
“Repeated failures to meet waiting time targets are concerning, but we are pleased to see that action has now been taken to rectify the problem of resource.

“We hope Monitor will continue to work with the Trust as is develops further solutions in how it can safely meet the volume of patients requiring its services, to ensure patients are given the quality care they deserve.

“Efforts must be made to consider how and why the situation got out of hand and the results should then be shared across the NHS, so that other Trusts can put measures in place to prevent a repeat situation from occurring.

“We are keen to hear the results of the Monitor investigation into the Christie NHS Foundation Trust and hope that any shortcomings in governance are identified and rectified as quickly as possible, to ensure patients are not being put at unnecessary risk.”
Julie Lewis, Partner