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Calderdale Royal Hospital: David Lockey

Category: Hospitals

"PFI enables NHS Trusts to engage with an organisation that is going to be able to construct a really good environment in which healthcare can be delivered. I keep coming back to this; good environment: good morale. Poor environment: poor morale. It's as simple as that. It has such a huge influence and if you've got a team that has good morale they work more efficiently, they work better. With something as crucial as healthcare you need that."

Dr Andy Lockey, Clinical Director in Emergency Medicine for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

April, 2008

Operational in April 2001, the Calderdale Royal Hospital is a modern centre of excellence and provides significantly improved accommodation compared with the Victorian buildings which previously housed many of the healthcare services. Officially opened by the Princess Royal in March 2004 and situated just south of Halifax, the hospital offers a full range of day case and outpatient services and an accident and emergency department. It is also the specialist centre for planned orthopaedic and general surgery for the residents of Calderdale, Kirklees and further afield.

The PPP Forum interviewed Dr Andy Lockey, Clinical Director in Emergency Medicine for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

What were your first impressions of the Hospital?

"This hospital was built in 2001 and it was in 2002 that I took over the consultant post here. At the time, I was looking around the region for a district general hospital to be a consultant in; I didn't want to be a consultant in a central hospital. I came to have a look around here and I was mightily impressed by the layouts of the department and its proximity to central services so I think it is fair to say that the building influenced my decision to apply for the post. When you walk into this hospital, particularly the A&E department, it feels bright, it feels cheery, and everything seems to be in the right place. That really has a major effect on morale and the working atmosphere. People that visit say it is a really pleasant environment and a lot of that has to be down to the actual physical environment."

What is it like working in the new Hospital?

"In the first couple of years there were a lot of people around from the PFI side to pick up on any of the glitches. If there were any problems I wasn't speaking to a faceless person or a different person each time. I know and get on very well with the main contact at Catalyst and have a good enough relationship to say "We're having these problems in these areas. Please sort out." Catalyst are readily approachable. We had a room that we see kids in and we wanted to paint on the walls. The initial response was that the request would have to go through alot of bureaucracy. Then I went to Catalyst and they gave me a pragmatic solution. Little things like that make a big difference. It's the ability to look outside the blinkers."

What characterises the relationship with the project company?

"A good partnership is essential. Absolutely essential. For example, there was a generator failure due to a failure at a sub-station outside the hospital. The response from Catalyst was superb in rectifying the problem. I have been very impressed with that side of things. On the flip side, I do get frustrated by the bureaucracy. It can take a long time to get anything done and some of the costs are rather inflated, compared with what you would normally expect. But that is one of the few negatives compared to a lot of positives. It's a minor grumble really in comparison with all the positives. We have a very good rapport and relationship with Catalyst. Having a good relationship is very important. At the end of the day you are working in a business with these people and you need to be able to get on."

What do you think of the overall design?

"I'm happy. I didn't input into the design process myself as I wasn't here then; but I think looking at the A&E department it's 95% perfect. There are things I would have done slightly differently had I been involved but on the whole the design is excellent. You can see what is going on in the whole department from a few specific positions and that is excellent."

Are your staff happy?

"One of the things that's always good about a district general hospital is that there's not as many staff as in one of the larger city centre hospitals, so it tends to be more of a community. Within the hospital itself you see people who seem to be happy. I love where my office is positioned; right next to the main corridor so people walk past and pop in for a gossip; I pick up all the news. It's a bright, cheery environment to be working in. Things are all in good proximity to each other. I certainly much prefer it to other hospitals in the region that aren't PFI."

What has the impact been on the local community?

"We've just gone through a period of surgical reconfiguration. Some of the services have been centralised to Huddersfield, some to Halifax. One of the things that we specified was that there would still be an emergency dept here. That relieved the local population. My impression is that the local community is very proud and very happy with the hospital as it is. We are now waiting for the dust to settle after the reconfiguration but I think it makes it even better for patients."

What do you think about PFI and long-term contracts?

"At the time the PFI was originally developed at Calderdale, both Huddersfield and Halifax were separate Trusts. You could argue that the Trusts should have been merged prior to the development of the PFI and then there could have been one big PFI hospital serving the whole area. The limitation of being locked into a PFI here now is that that isn't going to happen. This said, although we are locked in, we are locked into a great building."

What are your thoughts on PFI?

"It's good. I think it's a superb opportunity to deliver an excellent quality of healthcare. PFI enables NHS Trusts to engage with an organisation that is going to be able to construct a really good environment in which healthcare can be delivered. I keep coming back to this; good environment: good morale. Poor environment: poor morale. It's as simple as that. It has such a huge influence and if you've got a team that has good morale they work more efficiently, they work better. With something as crucial as healthcare you need that. You need to be going into somewhere where everybody is pulling together and is happy in their job."