I was recently invited to attend the Royal United Hospital AGM in Bath. Along with scores of other people I was able to ask questions about the latest developments for healthcare improvements in the region.
Bath RUH is publically funded, receiving a total income of £325m in 2017/18. Despite the harsh economic climate, the hospital trust managed to create a surplus of almost £20m last year, through well-planned economies and efficiency savings. They are using this money to invest in new facilities and expect to create a smaller surplus in 2018/19. Bath RUH is now ranked as one of the most efficient hospitals in the country and has just been awarded a ‘GOOD’ by the CQC (the OFSTED of the medical world). It’s not all perfect. I discussed transport, parking charges and A&E waiting times – all things that Frome residents complain about and these were acknowledged as needing improvement. But over all I left with a sense of optimism – a well-run hospital is important to all of us in Frome.
There is more good news this week from Frome Medical Practice, which has won a prestigious Green Impact Gold Award for Primary Care, one of only two surgeries in the country to do so. CQC rate the Frome practice as ‘OUTSTANDING’.
How different then, to the news that Somerset County Council, another publicly funded body, will be making more savage cuts to crucial social services. SCC councillors could have voted for a 2% precept increase in seven of the last eight years but chose not to do so. The SCC auditors report was extremely critical of SCC’s weak financial management and lack of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
How is it I wonder, that two publicly funded institutions can seemingly prosper in hard times, while another one appears to be on its deathbed? It can’t just be the Government’s fault.