Finances will be top challenge for Gorleston hospital in 2016

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The James Paget University Hospital has had a successful 2015 but as chief executive Christine Allen explains, its major challenge for the year ahead is managing a difficult financial situation.

New Day Care Unit at the James Paget University Hospital opened by Clare Marx, President of the Roya

New Day Care Unit at the James Paget University Hospital opened by Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.Pictured with Christine Allen (left), Chief Executive of the JPH.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

'It has been a year of innovation, dedication and celebration at the James Paget,' said Mrs Allen.

'As you may have read, your local hospital has been rated as 'good' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in August.'

The CQC is the independent regulator of health in England. The rating places the hospital in the top 30pc of NHS acute trusts.

'There were many positives in the inspection report,' said Mrs Allen. 'But what really stood out for me were the comments of the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, who said that our staff were 'exceptionally caring and went the extra mile for their patients'.'

Mrs Allen is very proud of all the staff, and was pleased to see them praised so publically. But she is aware that there is always more to be done.

'The CQC report highlighted some areas where we can make improvements,' she added. 'And where we are already taking action - such as strengthening procedures around equipment checks.

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'Our patients are at the heart of all we do – and our efforts to further improve our service to them have been recognised both nationally and internationally this year.'

The hospital's Ambulatory Care Unit has received enquiries from healthcare providers in Europe, South America and Australia, asking them about their work to reduce patients' length of stay in hospital by providing a consultation, diagnosis and treatment service in one place, using the latest equipment.

And the hospital has also been at the heart of a Twitter storm thanks to senior research nurse Claire Gibbs, who a year ago started a social media campaign to highlight the importance of medical research. Since then, #whywedoresearch has become a global phenomenon.

The year also saw the opening of new day care theatres. This state-of-the art facility brings increased capacity for day case procedures while reducing demand for inpatient beds and length of stay, in line with patients' wishes.

'Looking ahead, the biggest challenge concerns our financial situation,' said Mrs Allen. 'Along with trusts up and down the country, we are facing a budget deficit.

'To address this, we will need to ensure that we continue to be innovative, while looking at ways of transforming our service so that we can bridge the financial funding gap.'

However, Mrs Allen assured patients that the financial outlook will have no bearing on the quality of care. 'Compassionate and safe patient care is, and will remain, our priority.'