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The ‘amazing’ work of staff was praised by Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, during a visit to Maidstone Hospital on Thursday (5). Mr Barclay heard about the innovative ways of working at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) which enable the Trust to meet emergency, surgery and cancer standards and deliver some of the fastest patient care in the country.

Mr Barclay’s visit included the busy Emergency Department, which cares for around 300 people each day, and MTW’s Care Coordination Centre (CCC). The centre uses real time data to constantly monitor the Trust’s 700 beds to improve the movement of patients through its hospitals. This has significantly reduced the amount of time a bed is empty, the time a patient spends in the Trust’s emergency departments before they are moved to a bed and ensures patients arriving by ambulance are quickly moved into the EDs.

The Secretary of State said: “The team at MTW have done an amazing job. You get a real sense when walking around this Trust of just how much has been achieved and the impact this makes on patient care.

He added: “I want to pay tribute to the hard work and innovation shown by the staff. There is a lot that I have seen here today that could be rolled out across the NHS.”

During the visit, Mr Barclay sat down with clinical staff from across MTW to talk about staff recruitment and training, elective surgery, diagnostics, cancer and emergency care. He heard about the Trust’s successful Community Diagnostic Centre in Maidstone which opened in 2021 and delivered 12,000 MRI and CT scans in just six-month.

He also learnt more about the development of the Kent and Medway Orthopaedic Centre. Preliminary work is underway on the new theatre complex at Maidstone Hospital which, once completed next year, will increase surgical capacity across Kent and Medway and reduce the number of patients waiting for an orthopaedic operation.

Trust Chief Executive, Miles Scott, said: “Our approach at MTW is not just more of the same, but new ways of working to meet an increase in demand. Our bed management system and the development of our Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) units, help make the very best use of the clinics, wards and specialist skilled staff in our hospitals. Importantly, this also improves our patients’ experience, ensuring they get the right care, in the right place at the right time.”

In 2022 MTW treated almost 840,000 patients (including 2,000 Covid patients), saw an increase in cancer referrals and a record 190,000 attendances through the Trust’s two emergency departments at Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Against this backdrop MTW continues to be one of the best performing trusts in the country. It is one of the only trusts in England to have no long waiting patients (those waiting more than 52 weeks for planned surgery), is regularly in the top five for in the country for emergency department performance and has delivered the national cancer standard each month for over three years.