HOSPITAL bosses have marked the end of what they consider a successful past 12 months.
Ian Dalton, chief executive of North Cheshire NHS Trust, which manages both Halton and Warrington Generals, held a briefing session at the end of the financial year to update staff on the key achievements since April 2003.
Among the points Mr Dalton was keen to highlight was the increased speed of treatment for patients at both hospitals - no patient now waits more than nine months for admission or 17 weeks for an outpatient appointment. He also confirmed all suspected cancer patients are seen within two weeks of an urgent GP referral and nine out of 10 patients at Warrington's Accident and Emergency Department are seen within four hours.
Mr Dalton said: 'This has been a significant achievement for the Trust and it is a credit to our caring and committed staff that we continue to reduce waiting times for treatment.
'However, we recognise that we can never allow ourselves to become complacent and will continue to strive to do even better.'
He said another of the Trust's main aims over the past 12 months had been easing its huge financial debts - leaving the Trust £1m better off than the target agreed with Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority.
Other highlights which Mr Dalton spoke about included:
The £500,000 refurbishment of the Minor Injuries Unit at Halton General.
Ongoing work to build a new Accident and Emergency department at Warrington.
The opening of a surgical assessment unit at Warrington, allowing GP and surgical referrals to be seen in a dedicated area.
Work to build a new endoscopy unit at Halton.
But he added there were many targets still to be reached, including eliminating debts, giving patients even better and faster healthcare, and making sure the Trust is a better place to work.
He said: 'I'm clear that with the exceptional quality of our staff we will be able to do this for our patients.'