Bexley Times reports on HSJ Nomination
The following article was published in Bexley Times on 15th September 2011, praising the SLHT merger
Health trust is named as "one of the best in the country"
Bosses say it proves merger of hospitals was right move
The healthcare trust which covers Sidcup's Queen Mary's Hospital, the PRU in Bromley as well as Queen Elizabeth in Greenwich has been named as one of the top six acute health trusts in the country.
South London Healthcare NHS Trust was shortlisted by the Healthcare Journal as worthy of its "six of the best" for excellence in the quality of care, management and innovation. It was the only trust in London to be named and the only one that isn't a foundation trust.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at PRU in August
SLHT was praised for its significant improvements to the quality of patient care and the management of complex service changes within the context of "very challenging circumstances" that it has been working in.
SLHT – created from the merger of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich; Princess Royal University Hospital, Bromley and Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup – inherited the largest financial debt of any NHS trust in England and has had to tackle long-standing quality and safety issues.
This has included the implementation of a very complex series of service changes including the transfer of emergency and maternity services from Queen Mary's to its other two hospitals and establishing Queen Mary's as a centre for non-emergency surgery.
Judges noted: "In the past 12 months the trust has made very encouraging improvements to the quality of care which has been acknowledged in three positive Care Quality Commission inspections."
They pointed out that improvements include its mortality rates – patients now have a better survival rate at SLHT than the national average; hospital-acquired infection rates are exceptional with only one case of MRSA in the last NHS year, and its current midwife to birth ratio is one to 30, the national standard.
They also noted the opening of the hyper acute stroke unit at Princess Royal Hospital, one of eight specialist intensive care stroke units in London, and the financial savings in the past year at 11.5 per cent of total income.
Chief executive, Dr Chris Streather said: "SLHT was created to offer hospital services to patients in outer South East London which could rival and better the services on offer elsewhere,"
"Some of the changes have been very difficult for our patients and staff but I am delighted that we are starting to be able to demonstrate that the quality of care for patients is improving and that patients are getting a better service than they would have done if we hadn't pooled together our resources in this way."