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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 00:16 GMT
NHS hospitals ranked for over-50s
Doctor with an elderly patient
The care of all people over 50 was looked into
The best hospitals for the treatment of the over-50s have been ranked in a survey of the NHS in Britain.

The research by analysts Dr Foster, which looks at death rates, waiting lists and hospital infections, was carried out for Saga Health Care.

The Royal Marsden in London came top among the 223 hospitals in England.

Pembrokeshire's Withybush General Hospital was the best out of 17 Welsh trusts, while Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was top out of the 25 Scottish trusts.

Panorama expose

However, a patient group expressed some surprise that the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton - the subject of a BBC Panorama expose of poor elderly care last year - had been ranked 26th in England.

It is vital that patients and the public have as much information about healthcare providers as possible
Jo Webber, NHS Confederation

Janice Kent, vice-chair of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the hospital, said: "We will view this report with interest.

"A lot of work has been done since the Panorama investigation - but there is still more to do.

"The problems uncovered here were related to the care of the very elderly. If you are looking at the over-50s, I would expect to see better overall outcomes."

The hospital has introduced measures such as older people's champions on each ward following the Panorama investigation.

'Not complacent'

Trust chief executive Peter Coles said: "Our staff are committed to providing top quality care for patients and it is fantastic that their hard work and dedication has been recognised.

"However, we are not complacent and will continue to strive to improve those areas in which we fared less well in the survey."

The data in the Saga survey was collated by analysing each NHS hospital in England, Wales and Scotland according to four areas affecting care of the over-50s:

  • Death rates in that age group compared to the average and number of doctors and nurses
  • Cleanliness and confidence in staff
  • Access to services - including inpatient and outpatient waiting times
  • Hospital infection rates

The hospitals were then ranked with a score out of 10.

Patients can already choose out of four hospitals where they would like to have their treatment, and later this year, the list will be extended to include foundation hospitals.

Andrew Goodsell, chief executive of Saga which provides services for older people, said he hoped the results would help people in choosing which hospital they wanted to be treated at.

"This survey provides a snapshot of how the NHS is meeting the needs of today's over-50s," he said.

Growing demand

"It is encouraging to see the majority of hospitals performing well, and this is a tribute to the dedication of NHS staff.

"If people are to make use of the new freedoms to choose the hospital they are treated at, there will be a growing demand for a guide that helps people navigate through NHS performance statistics."

Jo Webber, of the NHS Confederation, which represents more than 90% of NHS organisations, said: "Research tells us that patients are more likely to choose a healthcare provider based on local determinants such as cleanliness, infection control and/or waiting times.

"Any research into these issues is helpful to patients as long as it is conducted in a robust fashion and communicated in a balanced way."

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