The Annual Health Check results announced today (16th October) by the Healthcare Commission show that St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has improved its ratings for both quality of services and use of resources during 2007/08.

The Commission’s report shows that St George’s is delivering improved services at a time when the hospital is seeing more patients than ever before. The score for the quality of services is good and for use of resources fair, compared to a fair/weak rating in 2006/7. The rating of fair for use of resources reflects the fact that St George’s has improved its financial management and achieved an in-year financial surplus last year for the first time in five years.

The Commission’s report also shows that St George’s reduced infection rates during the year with 24 MRSA bacteraemias (blood stream infections) well within the target of having no more than 37 and a reduction of 74% since records started in 2003/04. The number of C.diff cases was 415, again below the target of no more than 433, representing a 13.7% reduction on the previous year, above the target of 10%.

St George’s is also one of the few hospitals in the country to be given the all clear in a new inspection regime to assess breaches of the Hygiene Code. The results, which are graded on a traffic light system, follow an unannounced inspection by the Healthcare Commission in March 2008. St George’s was awarded three green ratings which means no breaches of duties in the Hygiene Code were found.

St George’s Moves up the Ratings in the Annual Health Check

Over 448,000 outpatients attended St George’s during 2007/8, an increase of 5%. The hospital maintained a 13 week maximum wait for all first appointments and achieved the three national cancer targets. All patients referred urgently by their GP were seen within two weeks and 100% of cancer patients started treatment within 31 days of diagnosis. St George’s also exceeded the 95% target for patients starting treatment within 62 days of a GP referral, performing at 98 per cent throughout the year.

Commenting on the report St George’s, Chief Executive, David Astley, said: “It is very encouraging to receive recognition for the hard work staff have put into improving patient care over the past year. St George’s is meeting, or is ahead of national targets, in most areas and working to improve in those areas where we are not compliant”.

Notes to editors

This is the third annual health check published by the Healthcare Commission and it provides a detailed picture of the state of public healthcare in England.

All trusts receive two ratings on a four-point scale of ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘fair’ or ‘weak’. One rating covers the quality of their services, measured against the government’s core standards and national targets; the other relates to the use of their resources, measured against how well they manage their finances.

The score for quality of services is based on how well trusts perform against:

  • core standards in areas which really matter to patients such as safety, quality of care and how responsive a trust is to patients;
  • existing national targets, which are predominantly concerned with waiting times and access to services;
  • new national targets, designed to promote improvement in health outcomes such as smoking, sexual health, health inequalities and reduction in death rates for cancer, stroke and heart disease.

The score for use of resources is based on how well an organisation in the NHS manages its finances and achieves value for money.

St George’s is working to address areas of under-achievement including:

  • We missed the national waiting time standard of 26 weeks for inpatient admissions due to an administrative error which resulted in three patients not being added to the waiting list. Since then we have reviewed and improved our administrative processes for adding patients to the waiting list.
  • The Trust cancelled 698 operations for non-clinical reasons and 95% of these patients were re-admitted within 28 days. We are now working hard to make sure that we cancel as few patients as possible and every patient whose operation is cancelled at short notice is readmitted within 28 days.
  • A&E performance was marginally below 98%, with 97.33% of patients spending less than four hours in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. Although we have achieved the target consistently over the past four months, A&E is again coming under pressure again. To address this, the recommendations of an urgent care review carried out earlier in the year are being implemented, to ensure that patients are treated by the most appropriate service for their needs.

For full information about St George’s performance against all of the above core standards and national targets, please

  • For more information, please contact contact the Communications Unit on 020 8725 5151 or Outside working hours, please page us by calling 07699 119700, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548.