Three Westcountry hospitals win places in Top 20 for quality of service
Three Westcountry NHS trusts have been placed in the top 20 out of 146 hospitals nationwide, based on a new index to measure the quality of service.
The survey results come in contrast to the results of a staff survey last week, which yielded mixed results in the region and prompted claims that workers felt undervalued and overworked.
South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, came tenth in the Quality Index league table, which ranks hospitals based on "what patients said was most important to them".
Northern Devon NHS Trust, which is responsible for North Devon District Hospital, was ranked at 11, with the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Trust at 14.
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The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust came towards mid table, at 61, followed by Plymouth Hospitals Trust, which runs Derriford, further down in 88th position.
Jac Kelly, chief executive of Northern Devon NHS trust, said: "We are delighted that the excellent standard and quality of care that our trust provides corresponds directly to what is most important to patients.
"Our staff are incredibly dedicated and the fact that their hard work has been recognised nationally is testament to their ongoing commitment and expertise."
The research came after a poll by ComRes showed that nearly one quarter (23%) of people said the most important factor in deciding which hospital to choose for an operation was the number of patients who said they had a good experience of care.
One fifth of respondents placed greatest importance on how long they would have to wait for an operation.
The Quality Index report is the first overall assessment of NHS hospital quality in England and is an attempt to create a meaningful and simple to understand indicator of quality.
It was published by MHP Health Mandate, a specialist health policy and communications consultancy, and ranked trusts on 10 different indicators such as risk of getting an infection, the rate of recent written patient complaints and the chance of an operation being cancelled at short notice.
It also measured how many patients said they got better, the number who had a good experience of care, as well as waiting times, the risk of being harmed, the level of involvement in decisions and whether facilities would be shared with the opposite sex.
In addition to the overall index, a separate "condition-specific" indicator was also produced, using lung cancer treatment as a prototype for potential future measures in many other areas.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital came second only to Guy's in London under this with the Royal Devon and Exeter also scoring highly at 13, with Derriford in 79th place.
The Quality Index report also made 14 recommendations on how the quality ratings should be developed and used to improve the quality of care delivered by hospitals in the NHS.