In June this year we told the Academy of Fab NHS stuff how Healthwatch Enfield were working with the North Middlesex University Hospital Trust to bring together patients and the hospital Chief Executive to discuss the hospital trust's future, including if the ‘North Mid’ should become part of the Royal Free London Group. (https://fabnhsstuff.net/fab-stuff/north-middlesex-university-hospital-trust-works-healthwatch-enfield-bring-together-patients-hospital-chief-executive).
Throughout June and July, Healthwatch Enfield involved local residents and stakeholders in conversations about the future direction of the hospital. Overall, we spoke to over 200 Enfield residents about what they thought about the proposed partnership.
The findings from Healthwatch Enfield’s engagement and outreach activities were analysed and presented as a report, ‘Informing the future direction of North Mid’, which formed part of the evidence base considered by the directors at North Middlesex hospital.
At its meeting last week (4th October 2018) the Board of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust considered the case for proceeding to full membership of the Royal Free London Group. The Board unanimously decided not to pursue this option, but reconfirmed the Trust’s commitment to continuing as a clinical partner in the Royal Free London Group.
The full report ‘Informing the future direction of North Middlesex University Hospital can be found on the Healthwatch Enfield website (https://healthwatchenfield.co.uk/news/nmuh-future-direction-report/). The report outlines how residents agreed that North Mid faces significant challenges. These include (but are not limited to): inappropriate use of A&E and the ability to deliver high quality care through services that meet local needs, whilst providing good patient experience, recruitment and retention of staff and addressing the financial deficit of the trust. Although there was no consensus on the best way forward to address these, local people said that:
- opportunities for closer working with other organisations such as primary care and community services, including the possibility of sharing resources and budgets to improve patient care, could be explored
- the option of a full membership of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to address the hospital’s challenges could not be agreed on as an appropriate assessment could not be undertaken due to insufficient information being available.
Enfield residents were however in agreement on their expectations of any partnership North Mid considers. The criteria include: bringing additional money and resources; an ability to clearly demonstrate benefits and how services could be improved for local people; understanding of the local population’s needs and how to deliver services effectively; guaranteeing that North Mid remains accountable to local people and stakeholders and demonstrating what additional support would be provided to staff working at North Mid.
Patricia Mecinska, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Enfield, said: ‘We would like to recognise the leadership at North Mid for delivering on their commitment to involve patients in conversations about the future direction of the hospital. At Healthwatch Enfield, it is our job to bring the voices of local people to decision-makers and the report we presented does just that. We will continue to work with our residents and listening to their experiences to ensure North Mid develops in a way that responds to local needs as it looks towards the future and any potential partnership models’.