Reducing Warwickshire hospital waiting times will be difficult to achieve this coming winter, health chief warns

Glen Burley told this week’s  board meeting that extra investment in the health service would come with a heavy expectation but at the most difficult time.

Reducing waiting times across south Warwickshire’s hospitals will be difficult to achieve going into a demanding winter, according to the health chief Glen Burley.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust' chief executive told this week’s board meeting that extra investment in the health service would come with a heavy expectation but at the most difficult time.

In his monthly board report, Mr Burley said: “The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will increase National Insurance contributions to raise £36bn for the NHS and social care over the next three years. Over this period £5.4bn will go towards reforming the social care system, with additional funding in the longer term as the NHS improves elective waiting times.

Warwick Hospital.

“The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers have jointly welcomed the extra funding for the NHS, particularly at a time of constrained public spending, but have also warned that it falls short of what is needed for patients given the impact of Covid-19 and rising demand on the NHS.

“If we are to tackle elective waiting times in the most cost-effective manner, we will also need to ensure that unscheduled care is managed effectively too. The investment will also come with a heavy expectation on the NHS that we can use it to make improvements in waiting times rather than simply standing still. This will not be an easy ask to deliver over what is expected to be the hardest winter ever in terms of emergency demand.”

At the meeting, Mr Burley added: “This is probably one of the most challenging of winters in relation to flu, Covid and staffing. It is about working smarter rather than working harder.”

Elsewhere in his report, the chief executive also outlined a number of key changes at board level prompted by a one-year secondment for the director of operations, Helen Lancaster, as she leads on transformation work across Coventry and Warwickshire.

He explained: “Harkamal Heran, deputy director of operations, will be acting up during this period and for the initial three months she will be supported by Stephen Collman, director of operations from our partner Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. Stephen is a very experienced director of operations who is soon to move to pastures new to take up a chief executive role.

“Stephen and Harkamal will be reviewing our operational structures to ensure that we have adequate management capacity and skills to meet current and future challenges.”