West Herts Hospitals Trust improving but quality of care still needs work

PUBLISHED: 19:46 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

WEST Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), which runs St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General hospitals, was rated fair for quality of services and good for quality of financial management in the year between April 2008 and March 2009. It s an adv

WEST Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT), which runs St Albans City, Hemel Hempstead and Watford General hospitals, was rated 'fair' for quality of services and 'good' for quality of financial management in the year between April 2008 and March 2009.

It's an advance on last year's double 'fair' rating and a vast improvement on the double 'weak' rating given between 2006 and 2007 when the trust was ridden with debt.

But WHHT chief Jan Filochowski, who was parachuted into the ailing hospitals trust last year, had predicted a double 'good' rating.

However, he said this week that the trust only narrowly missed out on a 'good' rating and had obtained far better results in quality of care than in the previous year. He also said that further improvements have been made since the ratings were compiled and that the trust seems to be on track to obtaining a double 'excellent' rating next year.

He said areas of dramatic improvement are accident and emergency waiting times and hospital-acquired infection rates, which were among the highest in the country but are now among the lowest.

But unsatisfactory areas highlighted by the CQC included systems to ensure medicines are handled safely and securely, the protection of property for staff, patients and visitors, the number of cancelled operations for non-medical reasons and the proportion of patients waiting longer than the 26-week standard time frame between seeing a consultant and receiving treatment was also too high.

Mr Filochowski said: "Our strong track record of improvement continues and we are pleased this is being recognised in this improved rating.

"Whilst there are of course still areas for improvement, there are many areas in which we are performing significantly better than last year.

Patients are our number one priority and we will do all we can to continue to improve the services we provide."

MP for St Albans Anne Main said: "I'm pleased that the ratings continue to show an improvement in the right direction. This trend must be maintained.

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