My term as Trafford’s representative on the governing body of Manchester Universtity NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) began on the 20th September. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances I found myself accompanying my partner to Trafford General’s Urgent Care Centre on that day. So I had to miss the MFT AGM. I didn’t know it at the time, but it wasn’t going to be my last involvement as a service user.
Ten days later on the 30th September I suffered a heart attack during the last half mile of a Parkrun at Stretford. That was the Saturday. By the Tuesday I was having a stent inserted at Manchester Royal.
I’ve since learned that it’s not a mandatory requirement for new MFT governors to have subjected themselves to life reviving procedures as part of their induction onto the governing body, but I tell you it really underlines the importance of this institution to our lives.
MFT is the single largest Foundation Trust in the country, with 10 hospitals and community services located across Manchester and Trafford. It’s largest employer in Greater Manchester. It’s an internationally important research facility as well as being our premier acute care provider. It matters.
The governing body’s role to hold the Board of Directors to account. So whilst I’ve had a lot of induction meetings, the first business meeting I could formerly observe as governor was Monday the 13th’s Board Meeting.
The board papers were a hefty 387 pages long, so I can only pick out a few highlights.
Top 3 concerns
Mark Cubbon MFT’s CEX provided his top 3 current concerns:
Our financial position, whilst still very difficult, has stabilised in Months 5 and 6. We continue to take appropriate action to deliver improvements to our run-rate throughthe application of enhanced controls, delivering improvements in productivity, and through the delivery of further waste reduction. We are on track to deliver £116m of waste reduction and we have a plan to deliver £136m by the end of the financial year. We remain committed to the delivery of our plan, and while we have seen an improvement in our position, significant risks remain.
Impact of Industrial Action
Industrial action continues to present challenges for our patients and staff, as well as having an impact on our operational efficiency. Should further episodes occur in the coming months this will present additional significant risks to our plans to reduce waiting times for our patients and could also impact on efforts to address our financial position, as outlined above.
While taking every reasonable step to reduce the impact on our patients, it has been necessary for MFT to stand-down and rebook circa 18,400 appointments across 8 periods of industrial action since the beginning of April 2023.
Clearly we need government to modify its demands for real-terms pay cuts from staff.
Preparation for the winter period is a key focus for our clinical and operational teams as we are likely to see increased pressures across acute and community services with associated impact on bed capacity and flow in our emergency departments. It is imperative that we have robust plans in place to monitor and respond to surges and ensure that we are working collaboratively both internally and with local partners to safeguard our patients and operational resilience.
Elective capacity will be protected as much as possible over winter months through the optimisation of Trafford as our elective surgical hub.
Trafford General perfomance will thus be key in the trust’s efforts to reduce waiting times.
Hive / MyMft
Getting the Trust’s IT optimised has been a key component of the drive for efficiency. Hive is the electronic patient record that’s been introduced, replacing a lot of disparate systems. It’s now live. There’s still some ironing out but the board is hopeful of it delivering a better system for staff and for patients.
MyMft is the patient facing app. The takeup from users has already reached 300,000. I know from my own experience that I’m getting almost a letter a day in connection with my treatment. There’s huge savings to be made by using the app to deliver.
It makes me smile that it provides electronic check-ins for appointments. It should allow for better use of the practitioner’s time as we move forward. Some of the routine questions like whether there’s any change to medication can be better handled by app.
Hospital at Home
I want to understand more about this ambition but the intention is to have more patients getting ‘hospital care’ in their home or in community settings. It could really help with winter pressures.
MfT being the largest hospital trust in the country is an attractive place to work. It’s a place with cutting edge research that enhances careers as well as patient outcomes. The board welcomed the appointment of 31 new consultants across the trust.
This is just a taster of things going on. The full report is here and can be downloaded.
Touch wood, I seem to be recovering well from my heart attack. I’m taking short bicycle rides and making sure I exercise daily. I’m trying to lose some weight too, I’m just eating at meal times and I’ve completely stopped snacking. The scales don’t seem to be shifting as much as I’d hoped but it’s early days.
I’d had hints prior to the heart attack of something not being right and I wish I’d been more assertive in getting it checked. So my advice is make sure you have your check-ups. I can see that heart attacks are no respecter of sex or age.