Annual Health Check results published today, Thursday 16th October, by the Care Quality Commission today show that St George’s has rated ‘fair’ for both its quality of services and financial performance.

The survey shows that St George’s met its 18-week referral-to-treatment target, achieved standards for MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections, met all the cancer waiting times targets and met standards for patient and staff satisfaction. However the Trust narrowly missed out on maintaining its 2007/08 rating of ‘good’ for quality of services, failing to meet one target for waiting times and one for cancelled operations. The Trust also underachieved when it came to admitting in-patients within a 26-week deadline.

Chief Executive, David Astley, said: “Keeping waiting times to a minimum is an important part of what makes for good standards of patient care. While only a small number of our patients were affected by delays we must work to ensure that in future we meet the waiting time targets for all our patients.”

“The ‘fair’ rating for services is disappointing when compared to last year’s score. We know that St George’s has to be consistent if we are to perform well in these assessments in order to maintain the trust of our patients.”

The failed waiting time target was for not admitting patients for revascularisation (a procedure to improve blood flow in blocked arteries) within 13 weeks. A series of problems with one patient journey, out of more than 2,100 patients who received their treatment on time, resulted in the Trust failing to meet the target. St George’s underachieved on the 26-week inpatient target by the smallest of margins, with repeated lapses on three patient journeys out of 26,696 letting the Trust down.

However, the Trust did meet seven other targets, including three waiting time targets for cancer patients and the 13-week referral-to-treatment target. The Trust also met the four-hour A&E wait target one which it had missed in 2007/08. St George’s achieved the highest rating for patient and staff experience and also met standards for control of infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

In a summary report for patients, the Trust was given full scores for safety and cleanliness, dignity and respect, and keeping the public healthy.

The report from the Care Quality Commission rated that the Trust had underachieved in the area of care of stroke patients as 52.5 per cent of patients spent their whole stay on a dedicated stroke ward, rather than the 60 per cent target.

Mike Bailey, Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive explained:

“This score comes from an audit carried out a year ago. I am pleased to say that our most recent results show that more than 80 per cent of patients are now being cared for on our stroke unit.”

“Providing care on a dedicated stroke ward is one indicator of good quality but there are others. For example, a stroke patient getting a brain scan quickly, or being assessed by physiotherapist and occupational therapists early on so that the patient’s rehabilitation can be planned by a team of health professionals bringing different skills together. Earlier this year, St George’s was identified by the Stroke Association as being a beacon of good care and I’d like to reassure people that our standards of care remain extremely high.”

The rating of ‘fair’ for its Quality of Management was based on St George’s meeting its financial targets for 2008/2009. The Trust’s financial reporting, internal control and financial management were all assessed as good.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact contact the Communications Unit on 020 8725 5151 or Outside working hours, please page us by calling 0844 822 2888 and leaving a short message for pager SG548.
  2. The Care Quality Commission (previously the Healthcare Commission) publishes an Annual Health Check on Trusts to provide a picture of the state of healthcare in England. For more information, please visit
  3. Quality of Management – the score for quality of financial management is based on work carried out as part of the Audit Commission’s Auditors’ Local Evaluation assessment, which covers five areas: financial reporting, financial management, financial standing, internal control and value for money (economy, efficiency and effectiveness). Trusts are given an overall score on a four-point rating: Excellent, Good, Fair and Weak.
  4. Quality of Services covers a range of areas including safety of patients, cleanliness and waiting times. The same four-point rating is used. The three areas assessed are: Core Standards, Existing Commitments and National Priorities (see below).
  5. Core standards – The Government’s core standards cover seven key areas of health and healthcare, including safety, patient focus, clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness. These are based on a Trust’s own declarations, and QCQ also asked groups in the local community, including overview and scrutiny committees, and patient and public involvement forums, to give us their views on the trusts’ performance.
  6. Existing commitments assessment looks at performance against long-standing targets that were mostly set during the Department of Health’s 2003-2006 planning round. The targets are mainly concerned with waiting times and access to services.
  7. National priorities assessment looks at performance against priorities set during the Department of Health’s 2008-2011 planning round.
  8. St George’s Quality of Service rating was ‘good’ in 2007/8, ‘fair’ in 2006/07, and ‘good’ in 2005/06. Its use of resource rating is the same as last year and an improvement on preceding years when it was judged ‘weak’.
  9. The Trust Board declared in April non-compliance with one core standard, research governance. Since this time it has received a full report from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on its systems to ensure that the principles and requirements of the research governance framework are consistently applied. In response, the Trust developed and implemented an action plan.