A new survey of NHS hospital patients in the UK has highlighted “striking” differences between health service trusts in some areas of patient care.
The biggest variations came in waiting for admission to hospital, mixed-sex wards, help with eating meals and food quality, according to the Healthcare Commission study.
The best performing hospital trust rated on how patients saw their overall level of care was The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic and District Hospital Trust in Shropshire. Bottom of the table was Ealing Hospital NHS Trust in London.
The results for the whole of England revealed that those rating their care as “excellent” went up from 41% in 2006 to 42% last year.
Ministers have said reporting of mixed-sex arrangements by trusts did not always match with patient experience. Around a quarter of people reported being in a mixed-sex ward when first admitted to hospital, and around a fifth when they moved wards.
The figures showed slight improvements compared to last year, but Health Minister Ann Keen said that the wide variation in patient experience across the NHS was “unacceptable”.
“The NHS should be in no doubt about how seriously we take this issue. We expect to see significant improvements in 2008’s patient survey results,” she added.
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