Monday, 26 October 2009

UK - CQC Rates More NHS Trusts ‘Excellent’, but Concerns Remain

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) released a report on the performance of NHS trusts on 15th October 2009.

The report, carried out annually, revealed that the NHS is achieving higher standards overall, but that a significant number of trusts are failing to reach key targets.

More than half of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) achieved scores of ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for the first time, but fewer acute trusts were given a top rating, with more receiving a ‘fair’ judgement.

In total, 20 trusts were rated ‘weak’ and a further 27 have not reached a score above ‘fair’ on both quality and financial management indicators for the past four years. However, only one trust was judged to be ‘double-weak’ for its quality of care and financial management, compared to six in 2008. This was Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust.

The CQC expressed concern that 63,000 operations were cancelled for non-clinical reasons, but a higher proportion of procedures are now being rearranged within 28 days of the original appointment.

A total of 48 acute trusts failed to meet at least one of the three standards for infection control according to the report, compared to 44 in 2008. However, progress has been made in rates of hospital-acquired infections, such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA, which have both fallen by around a third.

The report also found that 98% of the 19 million patients who visited A&E were seen within four hours of arrival, and more patients are receiving hospital treatment within 18 weeks of referral.

The CQC will soon gain new powers which will allow it to close down any under-achieving trusts. All trusts must be registered with the CQC from 1st April 2010, and must adhere to core standards or risk being refused a licence to operate. Currently, only half of trusts fully comply.

Further reading - An in-depth analysis of the UK pharmaceutical market, including more information on the NHS and the CQC, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published September 2009)

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