GUEST COLUMN: Challenging times for our hospital trust, by John Barsby, Public Governor for Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust

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According to one report, spending on management and administration by the NHS has increased from five per cent to 20 per cent of its budget since the 1980s.

If this means a more cost effective, efficient organisation, that’s fine and it might even be worthwhile increasing that.

If it doesn’t then the money would be better spent more directly on patient services. Extra funding alone is not good enough without it being effective and targeted. Two and a half years in ‘special measures’ should have been plenty of time for our local health trust management to turn things around. It remains to be seen if the ‘merger’ with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust will do the trick but a lot of hard work needs to be done.

Elsewhere in Chad you may have read of the forthcoming public governor elections for Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, asking for people to stand. Given the current state of the Trust and the forthcoming ‘merger’ with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust it will be a good opportunity to make sure real changes and real improvements actually happen. As I said in my column last month ‘Business as usual is not an option.’ So it’s time to get applying (see www.uk-engage.org/sfhgovernors).

We need a Trust that is renewed and refreshed. I was involved in a ‘meet the governor’ session outside of the outpatient clinics at King’s Mill Hospital just before Christmas. If the gentleman who had strong opinions on the state of things is reading this, please do something about it and stand in the election. You’re the sort of person we want. Also thanks to all the other people who took the time to talk to me. It was disappointing that only half said they where happy and had had a good experience. This result seems completely at odds with official figures given of around 99 per centsatisfaction rate. I’m not quite sure why this is, but I intend trying to find out.

The last Council of Governors meeting for the Trust was at Newark and, although not that well attended it was, nevertheless, interesting. These meetings are open to you, as members of the public, and most are at King’s Mill Hospital. I asked about the progress of some official guidelines that had been published by the NHS a year ago but I’m afraid that I was not reassured by the response. There was the usual technique of answering questions that had not even been asked, just to cloud the issue, but that’s par for the course. Still, being a governor is all about plugging away until you get a satisfactory response. These are challenging times for our local hospital trust.