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banner Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Star performing hospitals
Hospitals were assessed on their casualty waits,  among other categories
Hospitals were assessed on their casualty waits, among other categories
Thirty five hospitals have received three stars in the Department of Health "star-ratings" system.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was not going to be the case that hospitals in poorer areas did badly, and those in more prosperous areas would do well.

One of the trusts to win three stars was Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Trust, in east Lancashire.

It does cover some affluent areas, but many of the patients they care for live in some of the most deprived electoral wards in the country, and there is a large ethnic minority population.

Three star NHS trusts
Basildon and Thurrock
Bassetlaw (& Doncaster)
Blackburn, Hyndburn & Ribble Valley
Blackpool Victoria
Calderdale Healthcare
Central Sheffield University Hospitals
Chesterfield and N Derbyshire
City Hospitals Sunderland
Countess of Chester
E Gloucestershire
Frimley Park
Greenwich Healthcare
King's Healthcare
King;s Mill Centre for Health Services
Luton & Dunstable
Mid Essex
Morecambe Bay
N Tees and Hartlepool
Norfolk and Norwich
Northampton General Hospital
North Devon
Princess Alexandra
Royal Devon and Exeter
S Devon
S Durham
S Tyneside
Southern Derbyshire
Taunton & Somerset
W Suffolk
Winchester and Eastleigh

Rob Bellingham, director of corporate development for the 750-bed hospital said the trust was pleased to have been given a three-star rating.

But said it had not yet had time to consider whether it would set up any kind of "trading arm", as the Health Secretary has said they can.

Mr Bellingham said managers at the trust had faced the same challenges as in other parts of the country.

But he said it had also had to address the needs of its local population of 270,000 it covers. "We have to have cultural sensitivity to the ethnic population."

Special measures have been taken, with clinics and leaflets designed specifically for the groups.


The trust is also in the process of revamping its buildings, closing Victorian wards and opening new units, including a 7m mental health unit this year.

The trust failed to get top marks on operations cancelled on the day, but say they were just above the regional targets.

For local people, coronary heart disease is an important clinical , and the hospital has set up a one-stop shop clinic where patients referred by their GP can find out if their pains are heart related or something else, to speed up the process of diagnosis.

Cancer services are also available at the hospital, so patients no longer have to travel to hospitals in Manchester and Preston for treatment.

Mr Bellingham said though they had not decided exactly how to allocate the extra money they would be getting because of their three star rating, patients would be involved in deciding what was needed.

He added: "We're about to extend the working day, so it lasts from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Thursday so we can fit more outpatient clinics in."

More measures will be put in place so the trust continues meeting waiting list targets, and staff will be appointed to try to identify ways the hospital could improve further."

Mr Bellingham added: "Patients will certainly be involved in the planning of services. That is certainly part of our ethos."

Praise for staff

A spokesman for North Tees and Hartlepool Trust, which another of the three star trusts, said: "Latest figures show that nearly nine out of 10 of our patients wait less than six months to be admitted to one of our hospitals or are seen in less than 13 weeks for an outpatient appointment."

A spokeswoman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Trust said: "This is down to the staff. These ratings are consistent with other performance ratings we've had in the past.

"So, in one sense, its not a surprise, but obviously, we're not going to become complacent."

Sue Jennings, chief executive of Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust also said the high rating was due to the staff: "Despite the high-profile difficulties they have been working under while the hospitals undergo major change, they have continued to deliver first-class care to patients."

Lorraine Lambert, chief executive of South Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust, said the top rating provided: "a wonderful boost for the local health community".

See also:

09 Mar 00 | Health
Hospital league tables lambasted
04 Nov 99 | Performance 99
NHS Performance 1999
17 Jun 99 | Performance 99
Hospital death rates published
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