Hospitals: Standards

Health written question – answered on 1st February 2008.

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Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking in relation to hospitals which are not meeting the Government's core standards on the care of older patients.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services)

National health service organisations are expected to adhere to core standards in their treatment of all patients, as assessed by the Healthcare Commission (HCC). When the HCC find that services are not meeting core standards, it may refer serious failure to the Secretary of State (or for foundation trusts, Monitor) with a recommendation that special measures may be taken. This option is rarely exercised because trust managers and, where appropriate, the strategic health authority (SHA) are expected to act as soon as a failure to reach a core standard is recognised.

75 per cent. of all inpatients are older people. Many elderly patients find mixed sex accommodation distressing as it reduces their privacy. The 2008-09 Operating Framework sets out an expectation that primary care trusts (PCTs), which are responsible for working with healthcare providers to agree and implement plans for improving services, will set stretching local plans for improvement in performance in reducing mixed sex accommodation. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement published guidance in December 2007 to help NHS healthcare providers adhere to the requirements of their local PCTs. The guidance clarifies that single-sex accommodation can be provided in single-sex wards, single rooms with adjacent single-sex toilet and washing facilities (preferably en-suite), or single-sex bays within mixed wards.

Where patient survey scores are available, monitoring should be based on seeking specific improvements in these scores in the next survey. SHAs are responsible for the assurance of these processes and for the performance management of NHS trusts.

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Dee Speers
Posted on 4 Feb 2008 12:28 pm (Report this annotation)

By the term "all patients" I am assuming that mental health care has also been considered and that local PCT's will address the issue of mixed wards as a matter of urgency.
In assessing the core standards of all hospitals, how is this achieved under self-declaration by NHS Trusts and not by annual visits by the Healthcare Commission as indicated happen by Ivan Lewis?
What does "where appropriate" mean in this context and who oversees the Scrutiny Panels of the NHS Trusts for compliance re their underpinning of evidence that is essentially target driven and not patient led?
How is the role of the SHA involved if information sent to them is not in fact correct....who scrutinises the scrutiny panels?

My understanding of the term mixed(gender)wards relate only to washing and toilet facilities being kept separate and not day or night ward sharing.....which in most cases not only causes distress for elderly patients (and not so elderly!) but also presents nursing staff with the added responsibilities of ensuring patient's dignity and safety is protected. In some cases this has not happened and has resulted in the sexual harrassment of female patients (largely) by the inappropriate mix on wards at every level.
How will the NHS's Institute for Innovation and Improvement help "NHS healthcare providers adhere to the requirements of their local PCT's" How will SMART tergets be implemented? =Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely because if "aims and objectives" are only spoken and written down (should, would, could, may)but not Smartly evaluated then aims and objectives bear no relation to reality! We have been discussing and reviewing the issue of mixed wards for years and years...lets get the job done professionally please!