Abstracts: March 30th, 2004

The Commission for Health Improvement reports that hospital care has significantly improved over the last four years and is now more focused on the needs of patients. It notes progress in reducing waiting times in A&E and for outpatients appointments. But the Commission is concerned that there is still too much variation in the care provided within hospitals and across hospitals depending on where a patient gets treated. There are more trusts with a three star rating, but the number of trusts with zero stars has increased.Progress on areas that really matter to patients, such as being treated in safe and clean environments, having privacy and dignity and having a good experience of care prior to diagnosis and continuing through discharge from hospital, is still variable. Some services are of an unacceptable quality. There is also a lack of clinical leadership. While performance targets have driven improvements to care, they should not replace local response to patients’ needs. The Commission urges trusts to concentrate on redesigning services with quality in mind.

‘What the CHI found in acute services’ is available at: http://www.chi.gov.uk/eng/cgr/acute/acute_report2004.pdf