Healthcare Commission completes independent review of performance ratings

The Healthcare Commission has completed an independent review process of the 2006 performance ratings for NHS trusts in England.

Of the 570 NHS trusts assessed by the Commission last year, 17 trusts requested a review of their rating – less than 3% of trusts. Two requests were upheld:

A panel including senior staff from the Healthcare Commission, as well as independent experts from the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection, reviewed six of the requests. A team within the Healthcare Commission reviewed the remaining 11 requests.

The Healthcare Commission has taken on board advice from the healthcare sector that it should focus on whether a trust has complied with a core standard overall, not necessarily every single component in every single circumstance. In both of the requests upheld, the Commission agreed that although there were lapses, the trusts had met the standard overall.

  • The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust requested a review of the Commission’s assessment of core  standard C15a: “Where food is provided, healthcare organisations have systems in place to ensure that patients are provided with a choice and that it is prepared safely and provides a balanced diet.” The Commission found that while the Trust was not compliant with criteria relating to choice of food, these lapses were insufficient to say that the Trust had not met the standard overall. As a result, the Trust is now considered to have met all of the core standards and its score for quality of services has been changed from “good” to “excellent”. The Trust’s score for use of resources remains “fair”.
  • Bassetlaw Primary Care Trust requested a review of the Commission’s assessment of core standard C4c: ”All reusable medical devices are properly decontaminated prior to use and that the risks associated with decontamination facilities and processes are well managed.”  The Commission concluded that, despite some identified lapses, they were not significant lapses and the request for review was upheld. This had no effect on the Trust’s final rating, which remains at “good” but it is now considered to have met all of the core standards.

Gary Needle, Head of NHS Assessment at the Healthcare Commission, said: “The annual health check is a very thorough and comprehensive assessment of trusts’ performance. We had very few requests for review, but nonetheless, it’s important that trusts have the opportunity to question decisions made by the Healthcare Commission in an open and fair manner.

“I’m very pleased that University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is now one of the few trusts to receive a score of ‘excellent’ for quality of services in last year’s annual performance ratings.”

As part of the review process, the Commission automatically checks the ratings of all trusts to determine if any are affected by a decision, regardless of whether they have requested a review. In this case, the Commission changed its assessments of core standard C15a for Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. These amendments did not affect trusts’ final ratings, however Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is now considered to have ‘almost met’ the core standards.

Annual health check requests for review page


Notes to editors

Information on the Healthcare Commission
The Healthcare Commission is the health watchdog in England. It keeps check on health services to ensure that they are meeting standards in a range of areas. The Commission also promotes improvements in the quality of healthcare and public health in England through independent, authoritative, patient-centred assessments of those who provide services. 

Responsibility for inspection and investigation of NHS bodies and the independent sector in Wales rests with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). The Healthcare Commission has certain statutory functions in Wales which include producing an annual report on the state of healthcare in England and Wales, national improvement reviews in England and Wales, and working with HIW to ensure that relevant cross-border issues are managed effectively.

The Healthcare Commission does not cover Scotland as it has its own body, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland. The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) undertakes regular reviews of the quality of services in Northern Ireland.

For further information contact Megan Tudehope on 0207 448 0868, or on 07779 990845 after hours.

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