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The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust sets out aspirations for transformed health service at AGM

Ambitious plans to transform healthcare and progress towards a new hospital for the people of Harlow, west Essex and east Hertfordshire, were the central theme of the Annual General Meeting of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) held on Tuesday 25 September.

Image representing The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust sets out aspirations for transformed health service at AGM

It was an opportunity for patients, staff and the public to hear about big achievements and improvements in services over the past year, as well as exciting prospects for the Trust's future. Key headlines included priority areas such as initiatives in meeting the needs of an ageing population and advancing the Trust's business case for a new hospital.

Looking back over the year 2017-18, Chief Executive Lance McCarthy highlighted the significant improvement in the CQC ratings for services, coming out of special measures and with 65 per cent of the Trust's scorecard now rated as good or outstanding. The clinical quality improvements reflect the investment which has been made in infrastructure and improved services, access and patient experience.

The Trust has improved its underlying financial position by £9m across the last two financial years; this has supported and enabled over £11m of capital investment in its estate, facilities, technology and clinical equipment. The Trust is now actively preparing its medium term plans to drive continued financial improvement and to further its case for new hospital facilities.

Leading the Trust's plans for a new hospital, Director of Strategy, Michael Meredith, outlined the vision for improving services to cater for changing needs into the next millennium. The Trust's is vigorously pursuing its aspiration for a cutting edge, state of the art facility. At the same time it is modernising its current clinical provision and developing collaborative work with community and the third sector, to continue to improve services while the business case for the new hospital is going forward.

Turning to the complex needs of an ageing population, frailty lead practitioner Janice Bernardo highlighted the Trust's Fit for Frailty project. Older people with complex care needs in West Essex will increase from 15,000 in 2010 to 23,000 in 2030; the frailty team has introduced a rapid access frailty clinic to allow patients at risk to bypass A&E and see frailty specialists. This allows earlier decision making and avoids admission.

There was also an opportunity to view a special display of some of the Trust's innovative quality improvement and research and development projects.

As part of the event the Trust was able to showcase an astounding range of work it has undertaken during the year. Marking the NHS's 70th birthday, it featured 70 projects in poster displays, ranging from research and medical education to pathology and frontline clinical staff - evidence that the Trust's message: '#we've got what it takes' will lead to the Trust's goal of becoming an outstanding hospital.

Chief Executive Lance McCarthy said: "A year after we launched our new Trust objectives to transform and modernise service provision at the last AGM, we have made tremendous strides. We have made substantial investment in service improvement while meeting our financial targets. Our diagnostics, 18-week referral to treatment rates and 62-day rate for first treatment from referral for cancer are stand-out successes. The amazing array of quality improvement projects we have embarked on are proof that all our staff are committed to supporting the Trust to provide the best healthcare in the country for our local population."

The Trust's Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18 is on the PAHT website.

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