AN NHS boss says staff will work hard to address areas of weakness highlighted in an annual health check of their organisation.
Helen Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust, was responding to an assessment by the Healthcare Commission which described the trust’s quality of services and use of resources as ‘fair’.
Mrs Bellairs said: “We stayed at fair and but it’s a much safer fair.”
In terms of core standards, all were met, while existing national targets were almost met with problem areas including failure to offer digital eye screening for people with diabetes, ambulance response times, patient choice over where people get treated and guaranteed access to a primary care professional within 24 hours.
Mrs Bellairs said she could not understand why the PCT had failed or underachieved in some of these areas.
She accepted the Commission’s view that the trust was “weak” when it came to meeting new national targets.
Areas which need tackling include improving the quality of life for older people, reducing adult smoking rates, reducing teenage pregnancies, reducing mortality rates from suicide, improving health outcomes for people with long term conditions, reducing mortality rates from heart disease and strokes, tackling obesity and ensuring nobody waits longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment.
Mrs Bellairs said: “Where we didn’t do well enough was on the new targets. To some extent that was deliberate because we didn’t have the money to invest in services we needed to invest in. We hope to achieve more of those this year.”
She added: “We recognise we have got a lot to do. We want to be excellent. People in Western Cheshire deserve excellent services from an excellent PCT. That’s where we want to be.”
The chief executive pointed out that the trust did achieve “better performing” in a service review which looked in-depth at urgent and emergency care and “excellent” for its substance misuse service.