E Lancs hospitals aim to win back patients

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Maxwell Newsome, the drummer with Sky Valley Mistress, shows off the Epiphone Cherry semi electric guitar he won in a competition run jointly by the Lancashire Telegraph and Reidys Home of Music. Maxwell Newsome, the drummer with Sky Valley Mistress, shows off the Epiphone Cherry semi electric guitar he won in a competition run jointly by the Lancashire Telegraph and Reidys Home of Music.

HOSPITAL bosses are concerned that large numbers of East Lancashire patients are choosing to be treated in Preston and North Yorkshire instead.

The Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals have drawn up marketing strategies in a bid to win back patients, especially those who need non-urgent surgery.

In elective orthopaedics, which covers common procedures such as hip and knee replacements, just 60 per cent of patients within the catchment area are being treated at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT).

The trust’s ‘market share’ for general surgery, gynaecology and ear, nose and throat, have also been identified for improvement.

The tariff system used by the NHS means hospitals receive income for each patient treated, so retaining and winning market share is crucial to any service’s survival.

This is made clear in ELHT’s risk register, which said a failure to ‘achieve the reputation of a provider of choice’ could impact on clinical viability and result in a loss of services.

Martin Hodgson, service development director, told the board in a report that the trust was losing out to Airedale Hospital, among patients in the Colne area, and the Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals, in Blackburn and Darwen, with a number of others preferring to go private for general surgery, especially ortho-paedics. He added: “There’s definitely some specialities where there’s a lot we can do. We can drill it down to individual GP practices and we’ll go an see them and ask how we can get more doctors and patients to choose us.”

ELHT has been in special measures since last summer after NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh raised concerns about several aspects of patient care and low staffing levels, but Mr Hodgson said this does not appear to have impacted on market share.

He added: “If your hospital is in special measures you might think it would go down, but we haven’t lost work because of the Keogh investigation. Orthopaedics had 55 per cent in 2011 and it’s actually gone up to 59 per cent now.”

Sean Gibson, regional organiser for the Unison union, said it was sad to hear an NHS trust talking about marketing strategies.

He added: “The govern-ment’s marketisation of healthcare has the potential to leave NHS provider organisations struggling to continue to provide comprehensive services.”

Comments (2)

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7:35pm Tue 3 Jun 14

mavrick says...

You only have to read the horror stories like the one reported elswhere in this paper. There is a culture in the ELHT that patients are numbers and the hospitals are divided into business units. That's just how patients feel. The quality of treatment seems to be getting worse again, Perhaps if they acted on the complaints and suggestions from patients things might improve. If you unfortunate enough to have to complain you are ignored and fobbed off. The raw truth is the ELHT is not fit for purpose.
You only have to read the horror stories like the one reported elswhere in this paper. There is a culture in the ELHT that patients are numbers and the hospitals are divided into business units. That's just how patients feel. The quality of treatment seems to be getting worse again, Perhaps if they acted on the complaints and suggestions from patients things might improve. If you unfortunate enough to have to complain you are ignored and fobbed off. The raw truth is the ELHT is not fit for purpose. mavrick
  • Score: 5

7:13am Wed 4 Jun 14

Kevin, Colne says...

There have been a number of horror stories about ELHT and rather too many for comfort but I have to say that I have no hesitation in selecting ELHT for treatment. In fact this afternoon I'll be toddling orf to BGH for a minor operation, and I have every confidence that I will be treated very well indeed.

Hospital services are bound by systems, procedures and protocols, and for very good reason, and the challenge for the ELHT like all hospitals is how to create for each patient a meaning of unique individualism within standardisation. That's a difficult nut to crack.

Frankly, I find the NHS Choose and Book system helpful from a scheduling point of view, but pretty useless in providing information that assists in choosing a hospital.

Most of the comments about a hospital from patients on the NHS web-site are a mixture of positive and negative and more to the point rarely relate to the department or procedure that I am seeking. The question I ask is: Are the comments truly representative? And do they refer specifically to my current medical requirement? In most cases the answer to both of these questions is no, in which case the best thing to do is to discard the data.

Then we come to consideration of figures for MRSA. Here again, the data is not much use. Should one avoid a hospital that has recorded a recent MRSA, even though that may have occurred by chance? Or do I select a hospital that has recently had a case of MRSA because statistically the chance of another might be low?

The thing that I miss most about the modern-day NHS is that they've stopped giving orange Smarties to patients that don't cry after have an injection.
There have been a number of horror stories about ELHT and rather too many for comfort but I have to say that I have no hesitation in selecting ELHT for treatment. In fact this afternoon I'll be toddling orf to BGH for a minor operation, and I have every confidence that I will be treated very well indeed. Hospital services are bound by systems, procedures and protocols, and for very good reason, and the challenge for the ELHT like all hospitals is how to create for each patient a meaning of unique individualism within standardisation. That's a difficult nut to crack. Frankly, I find the NHS Choose and Book system helpful from a scheduling point of view, but pretty useless in providing information that assists in choosing a hospital. Most of the comments about a hospital from patients on the NHS web-site are a mixture of positive and negative and more to the point rarely relate to the department or procedure that I am seeking. The question I ask is: Are the comments truly representative? And do they refer specifically to my current medical requirement? In most cases the answer to both of these questions is no, in which case the best thing to do is to discard the data. Then we come to consideration of figures for MRSA. Here again, the data is not much use. Should one avoid a hospital that has recorded a recent MRSA, even though that may have occurred by chance? Or do I select a hospital that has recently had a case of MRSA because statistically the chance of another might be low? The thing that I miss most about the modern-day NHS is that they've stopped giving orange Smarties to patients that don't cry after have an injection. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

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