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Doctors’ body praises hospital improvements

The body which represents doctors in the UK has commended NHS hospitals for showing significant improvements in services they provide.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), was commenting yesterday on an annual appraisal undertaken by UK health watchdog the Healthcare Commission.

He said: “The BMA is pleased that many NHS trusts in England have demonstrated an overall improvement in the quality of services and use of resources.

“This is testament to the hard work and dedication of all the staff working in these hospitals.

“Issues like quality of care, safety and waiting times are obviously very important to patients, so it is heartening to hear that many NHS trusts are showing improvement in these areas,”

However, we expressed concern that several trusts were continuing to underperform.

“This is very disappointing news, and it is vital, for the sake of patients, that these underperformance issues are urgently addressed.”

He said on the issue of infection control, patients had a right to expect the highest level of hygiene and to have stringent systems in place to stop infections spreading.

“All staff working in the health service have a role to play in controlling infection. Only a co-ordinated approach addressing all the relevant factors – for example, high rates of bed occupancy, inadequate staffing levels, effective cleaning regimes and isolation policies – is likely to be successful.”

He added: “A culture of fear, where chasing targets and saving money seem to be paramount, will not help managers and healthcare professionals deliver effective infection control.

“There is a lot of evidence that imposed referral management schemes and problems with the Choose & Book IT system have worked against patient choice.

“The BMA has urged the Government time and time again to work with doctors before rolling out expensive software systems but unfortunately this has not happened.”