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Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital missed three NHS targets, but is still above UK average

The NHS trust which manages the hospital in Bury St Edmunds is performing better than its neighbours, despite missing targets.

Latest data shows the ‘outstanding’-rated West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is performing below a benchmark in three key areas.

Chiefs from the hospital in Hardwick Lane defended their performance but acknowledged improvement is required in some areas, including cancer care.

West Suffolk Hospital (6585742)
West Suffolk Hospital (6585742)

Data recently released by the BBC gave a snapshot of the trust’s performance in mid-December. This showed:

n Patients starting cancer treatment within 62 days of urgent GP referral (target 85 per cent / West Suffolk 79.2 per cent).

n Patients having planned operations and care within 18 weeks of referral (target 92 per cent / West Suffolk 90.2 per cent).

n Treating or admitting emergency department patients within four hours of arrival (target 95 per cent / West Suffolk 94.6 per cent).

In all three categories, however, the trust boasted superior figures to the average across England’s 131 trusts.

It was also better-performing in these three measures to Cambridge University Hospitals Trust and East Suffolk & North Essex NHS Trust.

Helen Beck, chief operating officer at West Suffolk, said: “Our A&E performance placed us 14th in the country.

“This is not an easy achievement with more patients needing to be admitted, meaning we’ve needed to open up bed space. Across December we saw a 3.1 per cent increase in attendances to our emergency department compared to 2017.”

Hospital chief executive Stephen Dunn was recently made a CBE for services to health and patient safety.

Helen Beck, executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (6571621)
Helen Beck, executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (6571621)

Ms Beck continued: “More patients are having planned operations within 18-weeks than this time last year and we perform well above the national average.

“However, as with any treatment, we must prioritise patients depending on their clinical need and this does mean some wait longer for their surgery than we’d like.”

She added: “The numbers of patients who have waited more than 62 days to start cancer treatment is small, but it is not acceptable and we apologise.

“We are still performing above average but we we need to do better, and we’ve put on extra clinics and changed some of our processes.”

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