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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Hospitals in England 'must improve'
Hospital casualty department
A hospital casualty department
How is your local hospital performing?

If you live in England, you'll be able to find out today under a new rating system by the Healthcare Commission.

The new performance ratings replace the star system allocated to hospitals in England.

In fact, more than half of all NHS trusts in England have been warned they must improve standards of care, after their performance was officially rated "weak" or only "fair" by the Healthcare Commission.

Today's figures assessed hospitals on two main points: quality of service and use of resources.

  • We'll be looking at today's performance ratings on Breakfast
  • Today's figures suggest more than half of all NHS trusts are weak or fair when it comes to quality of services and how they manage their finances.

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    The Healthcare Commission ranked 570 trusts in England, including primary care trusts (PCTs), acute hospital trusts, mental health trusts and ambulance trusts.

    Today's report, called the Annual Health Check, revealed that 60% of all trusts were weak or needed to improve.

    In the most comprehensive assessment ever of the NHS, the health service regulator has also raised serious concerns about how the majority of hospitals are managing their finances.

    Annual Health Check Findings
    51% were fair on quality of services
    47% were fair on use of resources (financial)
    9% were weak on quality of services
    37% were weak on use of resources

    Primary care trusts, which commission health services for local areas, fared particularly badly in the analysis.

    None of the 204 PCTs were ranked excellent for their financial management, while just 24 were ranked as good.

    And just 93 were deemed to have good quality of service, while just six received the rating for their quality of service.

    Trust re-organisation, plus increasing demands on community-based care, were cited as possible reasons for the findings.

    Sir Ian Kennedy, Healthcare Commission
    "The assessment is tougher across a broader range"

    BBC Breakfast


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