Blackpool Victoria Hospital bosses reveal £750,000 plan to tackle three key issues over the next three years

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Bosses at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will spend £750,000 on a plan to reduce the number of preventable deaths and incidents of avoidable harm, and improve the last 1,000 days of patients' lives.

Interviews for a new chief set to oversee the project are due to be held this Friday, with work yet to get underway, The Gazette has learned.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Dubbed the 'quality improvement strategy', the plan outlines the Vic's focus over the next three years.

New chief executive Kevin McGee said the hospital plans to bid for further funding from the local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which are responsible for organising and paying for residents' health care, and said: "An investment in quality would reduce costs in the organisation," according to NHS documents.

But Tim Bennett, the Vic's finance boss and deputy chief executive, warned there was "no budget provision", though he said the plan "was a positive way forward".

He said the board "should not assume that funding will be made available" and "agreed that quality was the priority but states that the board also had a responsibility in terms of the financial health of the organisation".

Board members approved the first year's funding of £500,000, with talks set to continue to "discuss the funding arrangements for additional resources".

Peter Murphy, the new director of nursing and quality, provided bosses with "detailed information" on the three priorities, with Dr Grahame Goode, the acting medical director recently replaced on a full-time basis by Dr Jim Gardner, saying he had "eloquently reported on the issues and advised that there was 100 per cent support from medical and nursing staff".

Mr Murphy said: "Quality improvement is not new to the trust and there have been a number of successful projects recently, including major improvements in the trust's sepsis performance.

"We aim to build on that work with the new quality improvement strategy, which will be at the heart of everything we do. Our main goals are to reduce preventable deaths, reduce avoidable harm, and improve the last 1,000 days of life for our patients.

"To do this, we will deliver a programme of quality improvement projects which will help staff make changes to provide high quality, safe, and effective personal care to every patient, every time, focusing our efforts on projects which we believe will have a significant impact on patient harm and mortality."

Berenice Groves, director of operations for urgent and emergency care, "supported the approach and emphasised the need to transform culture and behaviour" at the Vic, which recently came under further pressure from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), NHS documents added.

The health watchdog heavily criticised the Whinney Heys Road hospital following a recent inspection, and handed it a rating of 'requires improvement' two years after it was last given the second worst ranking.

It said Mr McGee, who replaced retired former chief executive Wendy Swift on a six-month basis in May before landing the permanent role on a job-share basis with east Lancashire's hospitals trust, and his new team of bosses "must now urgently address the areas identified for improvement".

And though the recruitment of Mr McGee attracted controversy, given Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden's concerns about the process - and fears of a potential merger between the two trusts - he is highly regarded in the east of the county.

When his appointment was confirmed last month, Mr McGee said he was "excited at the prospect of carrying on leading both trusts on their continuing improvement journeys at what is undoubtedly a challenging time for everyone working in the NHS".

He added: "Both trusts have much to commend them, especially the staff, who are all among the best I've ever worked with. I am totally committed to ensuring the people of the Fylde coast and east Lancashire have access to the best service possible, in the most appropriate place, provided by the NHS."