NHS hospitals achieve improved marks for patient environment, says new report

 – Slight fall in scores for patient food, privacy and dignity

*regional data available from this release

A bigger proportion of NHS hospitals are scoring highly for the environment they offer patients compared to 2011, but slightly fewer now rate themselves as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ for patient food, privacy and dignity.

Today’s Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) results show 97.7 per cent rated themselves as good or excellent for food in 2012, compared to 98.0 per cent in 2011; while for privacy and dignity the figure was 98.0 per cent compared to 98.6 per cent in 2011.

However 94.9 per cent rated as good or excellent for patient environment, compared to 92.9 per cent in 2011, according to a Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report, which also includes separate results for a small number of independent hospitals.

The 2012 PEAT assessments, which aim to provide a snapshot on standards of non-clinical activity that impact on hospital patients, took place between January and March 2012. They cover areas from cleanliness and signage to quality and availability of food and drink. Although it is a voluntary programme, 100 per cent of eligible NHS organisations, covering 1,148 hospitals, took part in 2012, along with 160 independent hospitals.

Hospitals are scored in each of the three categories as one of five grades – ranging from “excellent” to “unacceptable”. In 2012, for the third year running, there were no “unacceptable” ratings. No hospital was rated as “poor” for food, but two were rated as “poor’ for the environment and one was rated as “poor” for privacy and dignity.

Although the PEAT programme is based on self-assessment to a standard format, validation is carried out for a number of hospitals through the inclusion of an independent assessor whose role it is to ensure that the process is carried out robustly, fairly and in accordance with published guidance. In 2012, 497 hospitals (38 per cent) involved an independent assessor in their assessment team. In addition, it is recommended that hospitals seek the involvement of one or more patient representatives in the assessment, and in 2012, 78 per cent of hospitals did so.

Key findings for 2012 include:

Patient environment

(Assessed elements include; cleanliness and condition of lighting, furnishing, bedside entertainment systems, car-parking and signage.)

  • 94.9 per cent of NHS hospitals achieved a rating of good or excellent, compared to 92.9 per cent in 2011. The figure for participating independent hospitals was 92.5 per cent, compared to 87.7 per cent in 2011. Patient environment ratings for NHS and independent hospitals are not directly comparable.4

Food

(Assessed elements include; choice, availability, quality, quantity, presentation, service and support.)

  • 97.7 per cent of NHS hospitals achieved a rating of good or excellent, compared to 98.0 per cent in 2011. The equivalent figure for participating independent hospitals was 94.9 per cent, compared to 78.4 per cent in 2010.

Privacy and dignity

(Assessed elements include; confidentiality of patient information, visiting hours, assistance with personal care, appropriate patient clothing and ability to follow usual faith practices.)

  • 98.0 per cent of NHS hospitals achieved a rating of good or excellent, compared to 98.6 per cent in 2011. The equivalent figure for participating independent hospitals was 98.3 per cent, compared to 99.3 per cent in 2011.

This is the last publication of PEAT results in their current form; following a Government announcement that a new inspection programme would be developed for launch in April 2013.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “PEAT results are important, as they assess aspects of hospital activity that are not related to clinical care, but nevertheless can have a significant impact on a patient’s experience. The assessment takes in many elements, from food choice and bed sheets to cleaning and car-parking.

“The figures show that both NHS and independent hospitals are scoring highly in the three areas of assessment; food, environment and dignity and privacy. However the percentage that assessed themselves as “good” or “excellent” for food, privacy and dignity fell slightly compared to the previous year; although achievement for patient environment increased.”

Individual hospital and Trust level data is available at: www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/peatresults2012

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