Good environments matter. Every NHS patient should be cared for with compassion and dignity in a clean, safe environment. Where standards fall short, they should be able to draw it to the attention of managers and hold the service to account. PLACE assessments will provide motivation for improvement by providing a clear message, directly from patients, about how the environment or services might be enhanced.
April 2013 will see the introduction of PLACE, which is the new system for assessing the quality of the patient environment, replacing the old Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) inspections. The assessments will apply to hospitals, hospices and day treatment centres providing NHS funded care.
The assessments will see local people go into hospitals as part of teams to assess how the environment supports patient’s privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness and general building maintenance. It focuses entirely on the care environment and does not cover clinical care provision or how well staff are doing their job.
The assessments will take place every year, and results will be reported publicly to help drive improvements in the care environment. The results will show how hospitals are performing nationally and locally.
The PLACE assessment forms and supporting guidance documents are available to download below, to enable NHS organisations to prepare for their PLACE assessment and provide local training to patient and staff assessors. The documents include the assessment forms and guidance on recruiting and training patient assessors. They also include local training materials and guidance for anyone wishing to become a patient assessor.
Supporting guidance documents
The assessments give patients and the public a voice that can be heard in any discussion about local standards of care, in the drive to give people more influence over the way their local health and care services are run.
Assessment teams are a collaboration between staff and patient assessors, therefore patients must make up at least 50 per cent of the assessment team. Anyone who uses the service can be a patient assessor, including current patients, their family and visitors, carers, patient advocates or patient council members. The only restriction is that current staff are not able to assess the hospital they work at as a patient assessor.