NHS Fife held its annual review at the St Andrews University School of Medicine yesterday (Thursday).
The annual review is an opportunity for members of the public to assess the health board’s performance over the past twelve months and consider the opportunities and challenges it has faced.
This year’s review was attended by cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport, Shona Robison MSP, who joined the Board chairman, Allan Burns CBE, and chief executive, Paul Hawkins, to take part in an open-floor question and answer session.
Over the last twelve months, NHS Fife has undergone three unannounced assessments by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate, all of which recognised significantly improved performance on previous visits.
Improvements have also been made across a number of key waiting-time targets. Significant service redesign at the Victoria Hospital meant more A&E patients were seen within the four hour target, exceeding the national average. Elsewhere, innovations around the way patients are assessed upon arrival reduced the number of admissions to hospital by 25 per cent, whilst NHS Fife again outperformed the national average by ensuring 97 per cent of patients diagnosed with Cancer began their treatment within 31-days.
98.5 per cent of inpatients were seen within the 18-week Treatment Time Guarantee and 96.2 per cent of outpatients were seen within the same timeframe.
The review also identified the number of Cancer patients beginning their treatment within 62 days of their initial referral as an area requiring improvement.
In addition to performance improvements, the last year saw NHS Fife further develop both its estate and its links with the wider medical community.
In July, Maureen Watt MSP, the minister for mental health, formally opened the new state-of-the-art intensive care psychiatric unit at Stratheden Hospital, whilst NHS Fife also started work on its role in a new graduate entry medical degree, which is being developed in conjunction with St Andrews University and other Universities and Health Boards to boost GP recruitment and retention in rural areas.
Allan Burns, NHS Fife chairman, said the review is an important day in the calendar: “NHS Fife provides services to more than 360,000 people and it is important we take every opportunity to engage with our patients.
“This review was a platform for both NHS Fife and members of the public to reflect on how we are doing and ask questions about the services we provide. It is not just an opportunity for us to showcase where we are successful, it is also important to highlight where there are particular challenges and how we intend to tackle these head on to continue providing high quality healthcare for people across Fife.”
Paul Hawkins, chief executive, added: “NHS Fife is committed to ensuring patients have access to safe, effective, high quality care when they require it. Therefore, it is particularly satisfying to note that we continue to improve across a number of important areas and that waiting times for crucial services including accident and emergency, 31-day cancer treatment and outpatient appointments continue to be above the Government-set standard and the national average.”