Speaking at the Discussion period at the AGM of the Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Trust, Sir George congratulated the management team and staff on achieving “3 Star Status” in the recent NHS Trust performance ratings.
He then asked two questions, firstly about plans to invest in Andover Hospital. “Page 24 of the Annual Report says that .. “the hospital will be reconfigured and re-used to improve efficiency and effectiveness together with a substantial new build.” When will the new build start? It is very difficult to deliver high quality care in the outpatients department – I think the staff perform miracles to do what they do. When will the transformation begin?” Sir George pointed out that Andover was overtaking Winchester in population.
Sir George than asked about bed-blocking. “Last winter the position became so difficult that the Government had to give £2.5m Winter Pressure money to Social Services, so that care could be bought in Nursing and Residential Homes for those blocking beds in hospital. We are approaching the same position again, with 83 beds blocked for a variety of reasons. Will the trust join me and the Leader of Hampshire County council in asking for help?”
In reply, Sir George was told that it was unlikely that new build at Andover would begin with the next year; but some activities could be moved to better parts of the existing building. There also needed to be “unanimity of purpose” about the future of the site before plans could be finalised. It was hoped that the award of 3 Star Status might bring with it extra funds for capital development.
On bedblocking, the Trust recognised the difficulties and wanted to talk through with other agencies the best way of addressing the problem.