What Chief Executive Sloman says
I would like to thank all the staff here at the Whittington for their magnificent response to the London terrorist attacks on Thursday 7 July. I was deeply impressed by the level of professionalism, compassion and organisation shown by all involved in preparing the hospital for casualties. Twenty-four patients came to the Whittington; three were admitted with the last one being discharged on the 11 July.
Secondly, I would like to congratulate to all staff on achieving two stars in this year’s ratings by the Healthcare Commission. This achievement would not have been possible were it not for the hard work and commitment of all the staff at the hospital to providing excellent care for local people.
Monday 4 July was the day that smoking was no longer permitted anywhere on the Whittington site including all premises and grounds. It was great to welcome the Minister for Public Health here on the day as well as Jeremy Corbyn our MP. I am also pleased to inform you that we subsequently received a gold award from the Roy Castle Foundation for our work around becoming smoke free. Well done to Mike Lloyd, director of site commissioning and Dr Myra Stern for leading on this work and my thanks go to all those that were involved.
The hospital is currently developing its three-year Provider Sustainability Plan in consultation with Islington PCT and Haringey TPCT, and the Strategic Health Authority. At this point we are still projecting a deficit in the current year and next year, with full financial recovery in 2007/8. Our savings target for this year stands at £6.5 million, which will be very challenging. However we must achieve a balanced income and expenditure budget for this financial year and the next two and we will need to continue to be vigilant with our spending as well as look at ways we can do things better.
In this context, it is disappointing that the Whittington has the highest record of sickness absence in North Central London at a level of around six per cent. In financial terms this has a considerable impact on our stretched resources and also has a detrimental effect on staff who have increasing pressures placed on them covering for absent colleagues.
In late June we appointed Finnamore, a specialist health sector consultancy, to help further develop the strategic plan for the Trust's services and site. With the building work on the current phase now making good progress, occupation of the new building is expected to be complete by early 2006. This means that we must start planning for the final phase of development of the hospital.