Health service ratings due to drop

HOSPITALS and health trusts across Suffolk were today due to find out how their poor financial performance has impacted on their star ratings.The annual ratings are the official mark of how well an organisation is doing and are measured using a variety of different targets.

HOSPITALS and health trusts across Suffolk were today due to find out how their poor financial performance has impacted on their star ratings.

The annual ratings are the official mark of how well an organisation is doing and are measured using a variety of different targets.

The worst performing trusts will receive no stars while those ticking all the right boxes will receive the maximum three stars.

One of the key targets trusts must meet is good financial performance and it is thought that the current £42m debts faced by those in Suffolk could mean they all lose at least one star.


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This means Ipswich Hospital, which currently has two stars, is likely to see its rating drop to just one – despite former chief executive Paul Forden saying in 2002 that he could see the hospital becoming a three-star trust in 24 months time.

The East Anglian Ambulance Trust is also certain to lose a star because of changes to the way that data must be recorded.

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Other indicators used to measure trust's performance include government targets like four-hour waits in A&E and cancer waiting times.

The star-ratings are produced by The Healthcare Commission but this will be the last year they are done in the existing format.

From next year, the commission will, instead of subjecting all of the country's 572 NHS trusts to a week-long visit, only target inspections to places where there is evidence of a problem.

The new system will also offer patient and public representatives a more formal role in judging the quality of services.

Currently, West Suffolk Hospital and the East Anglian Ambulance Trust have three stars, Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney PCTs have two stars and Central Suffolk, Ipswich and West Suffolk PCTs have one.

The new star ratings for 2004/5 were due to be announced at a press conference this morning but organisations will be prevented from revealing them until tomorrow by an embargo.

Weblink:

www.healthcarecommission.org.uk

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