Hospital trust scores highly in new patient and public inspection

Patients and members of the public have awarded Southampton’s teaching hospitals some of the highest scores in the country for quality of food, cleanliness and privacy.

As part of the national Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) inspection programme, thousands of people joined NHS staff across England to score all wards against 150 standards.

The new assessment method, introduced in April to replace the Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT), covers everything from cleanliness, condition, appearance and maintenance of patient areas, to food and hydration for patients and privacy and dignity.

The results, published nationally by the Health and Social Care Information Centre for the first time, show services at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust scored above the national average in 15 of the 16 assessments carried out. 

All four sites – Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals, hospice Countess Mountbatten House and the New Forest Birth Centre – scored above the national average of 96% for cleanliness, with Countess Mountbatten House recording top marks.

Additionally, all four scored above the average of 85% for food and hydration, which included assessment of choice, taste, temperature and availability over 24 hours, and above the 89% average for condition and maintenance of sites.

Judy Gillow, director of nursing at UHS, said: “It is testament to the effort and dedication of staff across the organisation and at each of our sites that we have scored above the national average, in some cases significantly, in all but one of the 16 assessments.

“The clinical environment is as important to patients as the quality of the treatment and care they receive and we are all extremely pleased that this process, which is led by patients and members of the public, indicates we are performing very well.” 

She added: “We will now assess the data and information carefully to ensure we not only maintain the high standards we’ve set ourselves, but also make any necessary improvements we need to provide the best possible care environment at all times.”

Although participation in the scheme’s first year was voluntary, every NHS-commissioned building that takes patients for overnight stays took part.

Neil Churchill, director for patient experience at NHS England, added: “The condition and cleanliness of wards has a huge effect on how comfortable, relaxed and confident patients feel, which in turn affects how quickly they recover.

“Local people leading these inspections ensure independent, fresh pairs of eyes checking out our hospital wards, really making clear to senior managers how their patients feel when receiving care.”

For a complete breakdown of results for UHS sites, visit the Health and Social Care Information Centre website.

Posted on Thursday 19 September 2013