Questions Asked

A record of questions asked and answers given at Trust Board meetings will be published here within 20 working days of the meeting.

Please note that the Chair has discretion to edit questions and answers.

Questions Asked by the Public

12th May 2015

10th March 2015

10th February 2015

9th December 2014

14th October 2014

13th May 2014

8th April 2014

11th March 2014

11th February 2014

14th January 2014

10th December 2013

11th November 2013

8th October 2013

Questions & Answers


Please click on the link below to view all questions and answers:

Board Questions 11th March 2014

Board Questions 11th February 2014

Board Questions 12th January 2014

Question Answer

10th December 2013:

Proposed outsourcing of Procurement & Supplies Department to Serco

Serco are part of a high level investigation by the serious fraud squad for overcharging on Government contracts.  As the Trust is not currently contractually obligated to Serco, why are we continuing to follow this process and not follow other options available?

Why were Procurement & Supplies not given the opportunity to demonstrate potential savings opportunities post integration with QEH?  Are Procurement & Supplies going to be given the opportunity to submit a proposal?

London Procurement Partnership is currently proposing to aggregate demand across 27 London Trusts.  Would it not be more politically appropriate for the Trust to be part of this process rather than outsource to Serco who may only be able to negotiate prices with fewer Trusts?

When the bid is submitted to the Trust by Serco, who will be evaluating the proposed savings as we understand that Serco did not achieve the savings guaranteed in the first year of the procurement contract they hold with Norfolk and Norwich?

Who will make the final decision? Does the Board vote?

The Trust needs to have confidence in the integrity of any organisation which it forms a partnership with and  will of course consider the results of the fraud investigation (the allegations  relate to another part of Serco).The Trust entered into discussion with Serco to explore possible options and expects a proposal from them in due course.  This will be considered against other options.

The option of Serco is being considered as the Trust does not have the capacity in-house to write a robust specification or credible tender document.  As part of the assessment of Serco’s proposal, the Trust will be looking at whether comparable savings could be made without external support.

The Trust has not made a decision to enter a partnership with Serco.  There are a range of factors to be considered before a decision can be made.  This includes looking at whether the Trust could deliver the required savings in-house and/or by working through the London Procurement Programme (LPP).  The Trust has also asked Serco to have discussions with the LPP about potentially taking part in the LPP proposal as the two are not seen as mutually exclusive.

The Director of Finance and Performance will  be leading a review of the Serco proposals, which will include looking at Serco’s work with other NHS providers, including at Norfolk and Norwich.  Staff in finance and procurement will be involved in this work.  The Director of Finance and Performance will have discussions with the Trust Executive Team and will then make recommendations to the Board.

The decision will be made by the Board and not by an individual.  There will be a Board discussion and the Board would expect to reach consensus on the best option for the Trust and its patients.   This process was designed to enable the Trust to obtain best possible prices for services and goods because every time the Trust paid more than necessary it compromises its ability to deliver first class care

The leader of Greenwich Council, Mr C J Roberts, has claimed that inadequate community care arrangements in Bexley are holding up the discharge of Bexley patients from Queen Elizabeth Hospital and adding to pressures there.  Does the Trust agree with Mr Roberts?

Historically there had been an issue with delayed transfers of care.  Following the implementation of new ways of working within the urgent care network, delayed transfers have reduced considerably and are now at an acceptable level.
Long waits experienced by patients at the phlebotomy and warfarin clinics at the QEH has been an historic problem which has never been resolved.  Often patients have to wait several hours to have bloods taken.  Recently I have received complaints about waiting times at the warfarin clinic - and the shortage of seating.  There are not enough seats for patients attending either clinic. Both clinics are over-stretched with queues snaking up and down the corridor outside the clinics. Many disabled, elderly and other vulnerable patients simply cannot stand in line to have bloods taken.  What are the board's plans to rectify this situation?

The issues around the anticoagulation clinic are new to the new management team, but it was recognised that these were extremely busy clinics, and there have been issues around waiting times.  Prior  to integration, Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group had already planned an ‘any qualified provider’ tender to provide a large proportion of the anticoagulation service in the Community, which is the current model in Lewisham, and even prior to  integration Lewisham Healthcare (as was) was supporting Greenwich CCG to develop this new model.  The Trust needs to review the appropriateness of providing community phlebotomy from the Queen Elizabeth hospital as this service is not provided from Lewisham Hospital.  It is anticipated that once the community model is implemented in Greenwich, the problem would be resolved. In the interim, additional seating will be provided where possible.

I'd like the board to explain what measures are being taken to prepare for the inevitable increased attendances at A&E as we enter the busiest period of activity.

A great deal of multi-agency work has taken place across the urgent care system to plan for winter. A range of measures and plans are in place to manage increased activity.  These plans have been reviewed by the Trust Development Authority and NHS England and additional resources have been made available.

Are there any long delays for patients waiting in ambulances before being admitted to the emergency department?  If so, what actions have been put in place to make sure delays do not happen or are limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. Most Ambulance transfers take place within the 15 minute standard, however there may on occasion be delays of up to 30 minutes. Most patients do not remain in the ambulance but wait to be handed over within the Emergency Department.   On very rare occasions, patients may remain in the ambulance, if that is the safest place to wait.  To ensure patient safety, patients in the queue for handover are triaged, and the most urgent patients would be brought to the front of the queue.  No patient would be left unattended while waiting to be handed over to the emergency department staff.
Question Answer

11th November 2013:

Could the Board meetings start slightly later in the mornings say about 10 am?  It can be difficult for people to get there for 9 am particularly if  they have to do the ‘school run’ first. The Board currently starts at 9 am to ensure the agenda can be completed by 1.00 pm to accommodate the afternoon commitments of members, particularly clinicians. If the agenda reduces in future, consideration would be given to starting later in the morning. The timing of the meetings would be reviewed in six months’ time and consideration also given to taking questions at the end of the meeting.
Question Answer

8th October 2013:

Are there plans to integrate health and social care in Greenwich? This would not be the Trust’s decision and is an issue for Greenwich Council, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group to consider.  The Trust has experience of providing community health services for Lewisham and would be interested in providing the services if the opportunity arose to do so.