How healthcare went from weak to fair
THE full extent of the improvement in local healthcare services has emerged following last week s Healthcare Commission ratings. Both the West Herts Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) have gone from being classified as weak
THE full extent of the improvement in local healthcare services has emerged following last week's Healthcare Commission ratings.
Both the West Herts Primary Care Trust (PCT) and the West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) have gone from being classified as weak on two key counts last year to double fair ratings this year.
And the Herts Partnership Trust, the first foundation trust in the county, has again been rated as excellent in the annual health check on the performance of NHS Trusts in England.
The ratings reveal that the PCT was found to have met 38 out of 43 core standards for quality of services including performing well on waiting times.
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Among those it did not meet was infection control and decontamination of medical devices and facilities - the latter an issue which in June the PCT put down to an audit showing some areas of non-compliance to a small part of the hygiene code.
The PCT is still under-achieving on existing and new Government targets such as enabling patients to choose from at least four healthcare providers for planned hospital care and "substantially" reducing the under-18 conception rate by 2010 together with mortality rates from cancer, heart diseases and stroke by the same period.
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WHHT, which runs services at St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General Hospitals, complied with 35 out of the 43 core standards to achieve its double fair rating.
It failed on the requirement for all patients who have operations cancelled for non-clinical reasons to be offered another binding date within 28 days, "substantially" reducing mortality rates by 2010 from heart disease and stroke and achieving year on year reductions in MRSA levels.
But WHHT chief executive Jan Filochowski maintained shortly after he was parachuted in to get the trust out of trouble that it would take time for improvements in infection control to percolate through to the Healthcare Commission ratings.
St Albans MP Anne Main said this week that she held regular meetings with Mr Filochowski and knew some tough decision had had to be made. She added: "But I am pleased that this has led to such marked improvements in the quality of services."
The Herts Partnership Trust, the countywide mental health trust which is based in St Albans, has notched up "excellent" in the ratings for the second year in succession. It has been praised by the Healthcare Commission for providing an excellent quality of service to patients and the good way it manages its finances.
Chief executive Bill Macintyre said: "These results reflect the quality of our work, as measured by the Healthcare Commission's rigorous national standards. We shall continue to improve our services, ensuring that those who use them receive the support, care and treatment needed to sustain their personal path towards recovery.