On Thursday 6th November 2014 the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, visited Wycombe Hospital’s cardiac and stroke units, one of the most successful in the country.
During the informal visit Mr Hunt spoke to font line staff about the quality improvements made to patient care over the last 12 months. He took the opportunity to meet with staff leaders, host a round table discussion with doctors, nurses and therapists and get some insights from the wards, talking to patients and staff on his way around.
The Minister also shadowed Matron Rose Kennedy during a supervised shift, donning his volunteer tabard and talking to patients and staff while helping to serve lunch on the cardiac and stroke wards.
Rose said: ‘It was a great opportunity for Mr Hunt to see first-hand how cardiac and stroke services work at Wycombe. We are fortunate to have acute and rehabilitation care available under one roof, giving our patients the best possible chance of a fast and complete recovery.‘
Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The team at Buckinghamshire Trust deserve great credit for their efforts. I have witnessed first-hand the clear and significant improvements that have been made for patients in the last year. The team know that there is more to do and I’m thoroughly impressed with how they have risen to the challenge, and their creation of a nationally recognised cardiac and stroke unit and rehabilitation programme.‘
Anne Eden, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said she was ‘extremely proud‘ of the progress the Trust had made and thanked staff for their ongoing commitment to provide safe and compassionate care, every time with a focus on quality and an ambition to provide a consistently great patient experience.
‘We were delighted to have the chance to share with Mr Hunt our experiences and plans to continue to find new and better ways of improving care/services,‘ said Anne. ‘This includes developing innovative approaches to supporting our patients. One example of this is the Care4Today Heart Health Solutions cardiac rehabilitation programme, launched in January. As well as improving cardiac rehabilitation by over 10%, this has also enabled us to reduce waiting times for the first rehabilitation assessment after treatment for a heart attack so that we now see patients two weeks quicker than the national average waiting time.‘
During the visit, Mr Hunt met with the team responsible for developing the pioneering programme, aimed at helping patients to manage their condition, prevent further admission to hospital and live as full a life as possible after experiencing a heart attack. The programme received industry recognition last month, with Dr Piers Clifford, lead cardiologist at the Trust, being named as one of the UK’s top 50 innovators in health by the Health Services Journal (HSJ) for his and the team’s work on the Care4Today cardiac programme.
He also met with Dr Matthew Burn, specialist lead stroke consultant at the Trust and regional stroke lead for the Thames Valley. As well as discussing the development of stroke services locally and nationally, they talked about service improvements which have seen the Trust performing very well for hyper acute stroke and consistently one of the highest scoring trusts in the country for giving clot-busting treatments to patients with stroke.