More hospitals boost performance

25 Jul 02
Hospitals across England are responding to the introduction of NHS performance ratings by 'raising their game', although there is still room for improvement, Health Secretary Alan Milburn said this week.

26 July 2002

Publishing the second annual star ratings of NHS trusts, Milburn said there were more three-star (top) performers and fewer trusts awarded no stars in 2001/02 than the previous year.

This was despite the fact that more trusts were assessed and the performance indicators were tougher.

Overall, 68 trusts received three stars and ten no stars. This compares with 35 three stars and 12 zero stars in 2000/01.

'We have raised the bar and more NHS hospitals are clearing it. Overall performance is improving. Hospitals are raising their game and the NHS is moving in the right direction,' Milburn said.

Comparisons can only be made with acute trusts – the only ones assessed in 2000/01. Their performance improved in 2001/02 with 46 receiving three stars and eight no stars, compared with 35 and 12 respectively.

While half of last year's zero star trusts received one star this time, three – Brighton Healthcare, Epsom and St Helier and Medway – were awarded two stars. Three trusts remained on no stars – Portsmouth Hospitals, Barnet and Chase Farm and the United Bristol Healthcare trusts.

The Portsmouth trust said it was 'disappointed' that it had not received one star. 'The trust achieved six of the nine key targets set: the under-achievements were in two-week cancer waits, cancelled operations and overspending,' it said. 'However, the trust is now hitting and continuing to hit waiting targets and is meeting two-week cancer wait targets. To put it in perspective, our financial overspend was only 0.3% of turnover.'

Three-star trusts will receive greater autonomy and up to £1m each to invest in patient care, Milburn said.

If zero star trusts do not improve, their chief executive's post will be put out to franchise, which for the first time could be awarded to managers from the private and voluntary sectors.


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