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Last Updated:  Sunday, 6 April, 2003, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
City hospital 'best in country'
St Mary's Hospital
St Mary's serves a population of 350,000, many from deprived areas
An inner city hospital in central London which serves a population of 350,000 has topped a national survey.

St Mary's Hospital in Paddington was named Sunday Times Hospital of the Year because of its low mortality rates, waiting times and high-quality service.

Despite serving a large population, many from deprived areas, and recruitment difficulties due to high house prices, it received eight out of 10 quality awards in the paper's Good Hospital Guide.

The teaching hospital won praise for its treatment of patients suffering from breast, lung, stomach and bowel cancer, heart attacks, hip fractures or those in need of a kidney transplant.

The guide said: "St Mary's is proof that high-quality healthcare can be delivered in ageing buildings. Behind its Victorian fašade it is providing 21st Century healthcare."

But while waiting times and mortality rates at the teaching hospital are good, the hospital's casualty waiting times remain a problem, according to the guide.

Good record for inner London

"It is one of just two areas for which the hospital does not get our quality award.

"But still it treats, transfers or discharges 71% of Accident and Emergency patients within four hours of arrival, a good record for inner London."

Other London hospitals which performed well were Homerton University Hospital, Barts and The London, the University College London hospitals and the Royal Free Hampstead.

But patients at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London face among the country's longest waiting times, according to the guide.

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