Health services in comet country given thumbs up by watchdog

THE standards of health services in Comet country have either improved or stayed the same, according to the results of an annual health check published today (Thursday). On a scale ranging from excellent to weak, the Care Quality Commission annually asses

THE standards of health services in Comet country have either improved or stayed the same, according to the results of an annual health check published today (Thursday).

On a scale ranging from excellent to weak, the Care Quality Commission annually assesses health bodies' financial management, as well as the quality of services provided, including waiting times, infection control, and patient experience.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, has improved from a rating of fair for financial management in 2007/08 to good in 2008/09.

Its quality of service has maintained a rating of fair. Of 66 standards checked, the Trust failed to achieve 11, including the level of cancelled operations.


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Chief executive of the Trust, Nick Carver, said: "The rating was for the 12 months to the end of March 2009, and since then our staff have been working hard to tackle the ever dwindling number of areas where more still needs to be done. I am confident that, as of today, the Trust's clinical services are operating at the equivalent of a good rating."

He added: "It is just a few short years since we were judged to be virtually a failing organisation. Through a great deal of hard work, especially on the part of all of our staff, we are now performing well on virtually every aspect of the services we provide to patients."

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NHS East and North Hertfordshire - the primary care trust which provides or commissions primary and community services in the area - has maintained a fair rating in both financial management and quality of services provided.

Areas highlighted for improvement include access to GPs, Chlamydia screening, the uptake of the MMR vaccination, and helping people to stop smoking.

Anne Walker, chief executive of NHS East and North Hertfordshire, said: "In maintaining our fair rating we have made a number of significant improvements over the last year. These include reducing waiting times for treatment, and minimising healthcare associated infections.

"The health check has also highlighted areas for improvement, all of which we are aware of and have plans in place to do better next year."

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) has improved from a rating of weak for both financial management and quality of services to fair in both categories.

Chief executive of the EEAS, Hayden Newton, said: "I'd like to thank all our staff across the service, because our score is a reflection of their hard work and dedication. Thanks to the sharp focus on clinical training and awareness among our staff, the standard of pre-hospital treatment for patients is higher than ever before."

He added: "We have plans in place that we believe will result in an even higher score next year.

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