PERFORMANCE: Struggling Medway Foundation Trust has been buddied with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust to try and help the hospital improve its performance.

A small team from Guy’s and St Thomas’ will work with Medway to strengthen its clinical leadership and support changes being made to improve care and standards.

Front of Medway Maritime Hospital

Medway was previously buddies with East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust

Medway was originally buddied with East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust in September 2013 when it was first placed in special measures after Sir Bruce Keogh identified it as one of the trusts with high mortality rates.

University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust then worked with the hospital last year on a three month improvement project. Chief executive Julie Moore told HSJ it was “not possible” to make this arrangement work as an experiment in running a ‘hospital chain’ because of the distance between the two trusts.  

An emergency consultant lead from Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust has been employed to try and turn around Medway’s accident and emergency department.

The trust has been heavily criticised by the Care Quality Commission for its accident and emergency department and a new chief executive has recently been appointed.

Buddying usually concentrates on specific projects. However, Guy’s and St Thomas’ will be working with Medway more widely to offer advice and expertise to deliver its 18 month recovery plan.

Initially a team of 10 from Guy’s and St Thomas’ will work with Medway, but the trust expects the number of staff to increase. This team will include the director of strategy alongside senior doctors, nurses and managers. A spokeswoman said the team’s hours of work will vary.

A spokeswoman at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “We at Guy’s and St Thomas’ have a positive reputation for developing and sharing best practice - and we are very conscious of our responsibility to use that expertise for the benefit of both our own patients and the wider NHS. 

“We are pleased that we are able to assist other organisations while remaining focussed on our own ambitious and demanding business agenda here at Guy’s and St Thomas’.” 

Paul Streat, regional director at Monitor, said: “The package we’re announcing today will see one of the country’s leading trusts providing expertise to Medway, to improve services for patients in Kent.

“The new leadership team at Medway has been working hard to transform the hospital, and by joining efforts with experts from Guy’s and St Thomas’ they will be able to provide patients with the quality of care they expect. This shows how NHS organisations can help each other and share experience to improve healthcare for patients.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This kind of partnership is very promising. The arrangement taps into the wealth of experienced, high quality leadership within the NHS, and will support the leadership team at Medway to continue transforming care for local people.”