Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Worst performing NHS and private hospitals laid bare in new analysis

The areas of England with the most hospitals to have received the worst official rating have been revealed by a new analysis. London tops the list of the 10 worst-rated areas with 39 NHS or private hospitals having failed to meet all standards required.

The capital is followed by Birmingham and Manchester, which both have eight hospitals that fail to meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards, according to the analysis by MailOnline.

Number crunchers at the same publication found that 268 NHS and privately-run sites are giving patients care below the required standard.

Staff at the CQC health watchdog regularly carry out inspections at every hospital in the country, rating them as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

The judgements are based on five criteria which include whether services are safe, effective, responsive, well-led and caring. A hospital’s overall rating does need not mean every service at that healthcare provider performs at that same level.

MailOnline reports that of the 245 rated as requiring improvement more than half (132) were NHS hospitals while the rest were private. Among the 23 rated inadequate, seven were NHS, but 16 were private.

A CQC spokesperson told MailOnline most people are receiving good, safe care which is down to the efforts of those working across the NHS and independent sector.

They added that the number of times the CQC highlights good practice outweighs the enforcement action taken.

The spokesperson added: “Sadly, however, safe and good care is not always experienced by everyone and there’s more work to be done to ensure the delivery of safe care for all, every time.”

An NHS spokesperson said staff across the NHS are dedicated to providing the best care for patients with the vast majority of NHS hospitals rated “good” or “outstanding”.

They added: “While most providers rated inadequate are run privately, the NHS offers intensive support to help trusts work through CQC recommendations to improve services.”

The analysis comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged his party would make the NHS “fit for the future” with new targets for ambulance response times, cancer diagnosis and cutting deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Data released earlier this month showed a raft of NHS targets are currently being missed, including a key 62-day cancer target.

The Government and NHS England set the ambition of returning the number of patients waiting more than 62 days to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023.

But the data showed the number of patients waiting longer than 62 days since an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer stood at 19,248 in the week ending April 2. The average weekly figure for February 2020 was 13,463.

The Government has also missed a target of eliminating 18-month waits for planned NHS care such as knee and hip replacements, though numbers have fallen dramatically in recent months.

Sir Keir said in a speech delivered in Essex on Monday that a “cruel lottery of who lives and who dies” exists in Britain despite the NHS being founded to offer care for all those who need it.

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He told the audience: “(The Tories) voted against the NHS right at the start – more than once.

“While they have come to accept it as part of the political furniture, in their heart of hearts they don’t believe in its central promise.

“For them it’s a cost, not a cause, and from that mindset springs the well of their neglect.”

The Conservative Party highlighted that cutting NHS waiting lists was one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s top five priorities for the country.

They responded to the speech with counter-accusations about Labour’s own record on the NHS. Health minister Will Quince said: “It’s easy to shout from the sidelines, but the truth is Labour in Wales are currently missing all the targets Sir Keir Starmer has just set out for England.

“Labour have been running the health service in Wales for 25 years and haven’t met these targets. Sir Keir has a record of changing his mind – we can’t trust these will be Labour’s targets next week let alone in five years’ time.

“This Conservative Government has already reduced 18-month waits by 91 percent from their peak, and two-year waits are virtually eliminated.”

NHS Providers, the membership organisation for NHS trusts across the country, warned that Labour’s “ambitious” plans could only be realised with “adequate funding” for workers and infrastructure.

Sir Julian Hartley, the group’s chief executive, said: “(Trust leaders) will agree with Labour’s goal to reduce waiting times. Trusts have made remarkable progress on the longest waits for planned operations given the recent challenges.

“However, this goal will only be achieved if it’s underpinned by adequate funding for health and care workers as well as for infrastructure.”

Sir Keir refused to say if Labour would back its commitments by investing more in the NHS than the Government, insisting funding was “important” but it is not all about money.

He said his focus will be on harnessing the power of science and new technology, which he described as “gamechangers”, to improve the health service, such as by using the NHS app to host digital patient records.

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