Staff praise takes centre stage at James Paget University Hospital annual meeting

James Paget Hospital. Photo: Sonya Duncan

James Paget Hospital. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

'We are proud of the Paget.'

James Paget Hospital. Photo: Sonya Duncan

James Paget Hospital. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

That was the overwhelming message given at the Gorleston hospital's annual general meeting this evening, where praise was heaped on staff for their hard work and dedication.

Recognising staff and volunteers was a thread which ran through the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) meeting, which was held at the Burrage Centre.

But as well as celebration there was the recognition of challenges faced in the past year and those yet to come.

Successes such as being rated good by the Care Quality Commission and achieving £10m worth of efficiency savings in 2016/17 were highlighted.

But it was also admitted that whilst demand has risen, with accident and emergency attendances up by more than 3,000 on the previous year, budgets had not.

Lead governor, Angela Woodcock, said this was a concern for the stakeholders' group. She said: 'We just want the Treasury to tip some money out for us... it's a tough time for the NHS.'

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Financially, the trust finished the year with a £4m deficit, down from £8m the previous year. Big savings came in the form of £1m saved from reducing agency spend, and £101,000 on reducing the number of drugs prescribed/switching to cheaper alternatives.

But JPUH chairman Anna Davidson warned there were also going to be tough financial times in 2017/18 as the hospital looked to make £14m in savings.

Children and young people's care came under the spotlight with a presentation by paediatric consult John Chapman.

Mr Chapman said around the world there was an 'alarming gap' between the rich and poor in children's health, but compared to other European countries, the United Kingdom did not match up well on child mortality.

He said deprivation played a part.

He added: 'We have a lot of deprivation here.'

But he was encouraged by the work done in his department, including a 12-strong team on children's community nurses.

'Other hospitals will have one nurse trying to do this job,' he said.

And there was also mention of the neonatal unit and children's section of A&E, where little ones can be seen separately.

Some 23pc of those who attend A&E are children, he said, and the hospital had received positive feedback on separating them.

On the neonatal unit he added: 'The smallest patients in the hospital take the most work.'

Ms Davidson brought the presentations to an end by looking forward. She pointed to new funding for A&E to ease winter pressures, improved wifi for patients and staff, and a scheme to get patients home more quickly as changes to look out for.

And said everything the hospital wanted to achieve fed into wanting to 'provide the right care, at the right timme, in the right place, for all patients.'

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