Milton Keynes Hospital “fails to fully address concerns” about finances and A&E

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Milton Keynes Hospital has “failed to fully address concerns” about its finances and A&E according to a health watchdog.

Monitor, which regulates health across England, has been working with the hospital since April 2013, after concerns about the trust failing to meet national targets for A&E and about its financial performance.

Although Monitor said that there had been “some progress” there will now be four legally-binding steps introduced.

As a result the hospital will:

*Develop and implement an updated plan to address its A&E problems, such as patients waiting longer than 4 hours to be seen;

*Develop and put into action a plan to improve its finances;

*Ensure any future problems with its finances or services are identified and properly dealt with;

*Ensure that its plans fit in with the findings and recommendations of the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review.

Laura Mills, deputy regional director for Monitor, said: “The trust has made some progress in addressing our concerns over its clinical and financial performance and sustainability. The people of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes deserve good quality healthcare services now and in the future, but there is still much more to do if this is to be achieved.”

Joe Harrison, chief executive of Milton Keynes Hospital, said: “We continue to work very closely with Monitor to deliver on our financial and performance obligations, according to national targets and requirements.

“We have made real progress over the past 12 months, despite continuing to face significant challenges, both in terms of demand and capacity in our A&E department; and in managing a planned deficit budget, whilst continuing to invest in improving care quality. We are also progressing significant developments on the hospital site, including a new medical school and cancer centre and the expansion of A&E.

“Monitor have been very supportive of the Trust, recognizing our efforts and progress and our commitment to continuing to improve care and services to patients. We have welcomed the opportunity to agree the next year’s undertakings with Monitor and are confident that we will see further improvement over the next 12 months.”

The city’s two MPs both claimed to be confident about the future of the hospital.

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “After last years report Iain Stewart and I fought hard to deliver an extra £2.9million to help expand our A&E and we have already seen an increase in the number of treatment bays which in part has contributed to the improvements.

“With even more expansion work underway and due to be complete in the New Year, I am confident that thanks to this and the hard work of hospital staff improvements will continue to be made.

“Ultimately though with an ever-growing population, an even bolder solution is required which is why we are both committed to delivering a new £21million ‘common front door’ for the hospital to deliver a long-term solution and the A&E service that Milton Keynes deserves.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “Despite an excellent team at Milton Keynes Hospital this report highlights the enormous pressure facing services in the borough. Three years on from the start of the first health review and we are still no clearer about either the future of local healthcare provision or when we will get the green light for a new A&E at the hospital.

“Our NHS staff are doing an amazing job against incessant government meddling and pressures on budgets. The pressure on the hospital will only become greater with winter approaching. We need the government to get off its backside and give us the long- term funding we need as a growing new city.”

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