Annual Report 2005-2006: A Year of Challenge and Change

Introduction from the Chairman and the Chief Executive

The past year has seen the Trust face new and unprecedented challenges and changes.

Professor Thomas Hanahoe, Chairman
Professor Thomas Hanahoe, Chairman

We have seen NHS structures change once again and we  now look forward to working with the new East of England Strategic Health Authority, West Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Practice Based Commissioners.

We’ve seen the era of patient choice develop, and we are already working in new and exciting ways to support this change.

We have seen examples of excellent clinical care and clinical innovation within this organisation. The improvement in A&E waiting times has been outstanding and shows the importance of strong clinical leadership and multidisciplinary working.

Our waiting times for cancer patients and follow-up treatment are some of the best in the country. In addition, we have achieved the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) level two for our maternity service.

David Law, Chief Executive
David Law, Chief Executive

The past 12 months have shown us real evidence of the possibilities that lie in the future. In March the Watford Health Campus partnership was officially launched as the nine member organisations pledged their commitment to this unique project, which has at its centre a new hospital to replace the Trust’s existing facility in Watford.

At the end of the financial year we saw changes to the Trust Board and we look forward to working with three new non-executive directors during the coming year. Over the year we also welcomed a number of new executive directors as previous colleagues moved on. 

Over the next few months we will say goodbye to the Plastics and Burns Service which, as intended, will transfer from the Trust to the management of the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead. In turn we will welcome the acute children’s service into the Trust when its transfer from the management of the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust is effected later this year. 

The history of financial deficit in the health service in west Hertfordshire continues to challenge the delivery of high-quality healthcare. However, action is being taken to achieve sustainable financial balance, and to create a health service for the community of west Hertfordshire fit for the 21st century. To achieve this, restructuring of the Trust’s services is inevitable. We live in a time of rising public expectations, and if we are to improve services for patients we must embrace change. 

The Trust Board wholeheartedly believes that fundamental change is needed to ensure the community of west Hertfordshire has hospital services it can be proud of and use with confidence. As this report goes to print, the Trust is in the midst of a consultation; a consultation which, if approved, will set the Trust on the right course to make sustainable improvements in terms of both clinical services and financial stability and lay the foundations for future development and innovation.

Finally, we must pay tribute to something that does not change – the ongoing support and dedication of the Trust’s staff, its volunteers and our many partners and colleagues in the health service and local community.

Prof Thomas Hanahoe

David Law
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust was formed from the Mount Vernon and Watford Hospitals NHS Trust and the St Albans and Hemel Hempstead NHS Trust on 1 April 2000. The Trust provides health services at Hemel Hempstead General Hospital, Watford General Hospital, St Albans City Hospital and Mount Vernon Hospital. We employ more than 4000 staff working in over 50 different professions to serve the people of west Hertfordshire and beyond.

In April 2005, the management of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre transferred to East & North Herts NHS Trust in preparation for the development of the new Cancer Centre at Hatfield. Over the coming months, the management of the Trust’s Plastics Surgery service is scheduled to transfer to the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead whilst acute children’s services, currently managed by the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust, will transfer to this Trust.

Emergency Preparedness

The NHS faces increasing challenges in the area of emergency planning. The Trust is committed to adopting a multi-agency approach to Emergency Planning and is represented on a number of external emergency planning groups led by Hertfordshire Resilience (formerly known as HESMIC).

Events of the past year have tested the Trust, and the agencies with which it works closely, in a variety of ways. On July 7, 2005 the London bombings led to the Trust going on ‘stand-by’ to receive casualties. Only a few months later, the Trust was once again put on stand-by to receive casualties from the Buncefield Oil Depot explosion. Hemel Hempstead General Hospital saw 45 casualties as a result of the incident. The Trust continually reviews and refines its emergency plans. New legislation (i.e. the Civil Contingencies Act) and new Department of Health guidelines underpin the Trust’s Emergency Planning process and our plans for future developments.

Download a copy of the Trust's Annual Report:

2005/2006 Annual Report

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