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Response to Monitor Investigation

Patrick Crowley, Chief Executive of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator, has today announced that it is opening a formal investigation into the Trust’s compliance with its licence.

“This is as a result of breaches of the four hour A&E target and cancer targets, in particular the two week wait target for symptomatic breast patients.

“As part of their investigation Monitor will be looking for evidence of the nature and strength of our governance arrangements, so that they can be assured that we, as a Board and wider management team, are competent to manage our own performance and deliver improvements in these areas.

“We must treat any scrutiny of our performance as an opportunity to learn and improve, and whilst I do not want people to be unduly worried by this it is nonetheless something we are approaching as an absolutely priority.

“The difficulties in A&E are well documented, and in many ways this action by Monitor is inevitable given the pressures we are facing.

“Not all A&E attendances are emergencies, and our patients can be reassured that we prioritise and quickly treat those most in need of care. There needs to be a recognition that this is a whole-system issue and not one that can only be resolved through changes in either A&E or the wider acute pathway within our hospitals.

“We of course have a responsibility to play our part in solving the problem, and we are making investments such as the new ambulance assessment area, and trying new ways of working to improve the way that patients move through the system.

“I would like to reassure patients that Monitor’s investigation is not concerned with the care or treatment provided for our cancer patients. The issue is with our difficulty in meeting targets around initial assessment and diagnosis in specific specialties. We are meeting targets relating to treatment times for cancer, and overall time from referral to treatment is also within target.

“We have had particular concerns around the two week wait for symptomatic breast patients in Scarborough, as for some time we have been unable to recruit to key radiology posts and this is causing some difficulty in delivering the service.

“We have taken action to resolve the problem, with referrals to the breast service being directed to York Hospital since July this year.

“This is a temporary move and we are working hard to address the recruitment issue and looking at different ways of staffing the service. Once the situation has improved, we will once again deliver a breast service on the East Coast.

“We are grateful to Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group for their support in enabling us to do this, and we appreciate that this may mean patients having to travel further for appointments, however we need to take this action to enable us to deliver a safe service until such time as we can recruit a full complement of staff for the service to run effectively.

“We will work with Monitor in completing their investigation, and will continue to work hard, as always, to provide the best care for our patients.”

03 September 2014

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