Yesterday Paul Burstow, the new Lib Dem Health Minister, visited The Christie. I had asked him to visit to discuss the ongoing problems over the 62 day target, which is completely unachieveable at The Christie. At the beginning of 2009 a new method of measuring the target was introduced and despite concerns being raised about the target being unachieveable the concerns had fallen on deaf ears. Yesterday the hospital had the chance to brief the Minister on the unfairness of the target, and the impact that this could have on the reputation of an outstanding hospital that find itself on the amber/red list through no fault of its own. The Minister has agreed to look closely at the details, and I hope to see the problem resolved. During the visit Paul made it clear that the new Government wants to move the focus away from the current target driven approach to focus on outcomes. In my view this is a step in the right direction.
While the Minister was at the hospital he also took the opportunity to break the news to staff that The Christie has been successful in reaching the next stage to become one of the 2 or 3 sites for the new proton beam therapy centres. At the moment patients are having to travel abroad for costly treatment (about £40,000 in 2009), and massive savings will be made once the centres are up and running. It’s great news that we have been successful in our bid at The Christie.