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Today Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, has written to NHS leaders introducing the new system for assessing the quality of the hospital environment from April 2013. Patient-led assessments of the care environment (PLACE) is the new system for assessing the quality of the hospital environment, which replaces Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) inspections from April 2013. PLACE assessments will apply to all hospitals delivering NHS-funded care, including day treatment centres and hospices.
PLACE assessments put patient views at the centre of the assessment process, and use information gleaned directly from patient assessors to report how well a hospital is performing in the areas assessed – privacy and dignity, cleanliness, food and general building maintenance. It focuses entirely on the care environment and does not cover clinical care provision or staff behaviours.
The assessments will be undertaken annually, and results will be reported publicly to help drive improvements in the care environment. The results will show how hospitals are performing nationally.
Most importantly, patients and their representatives will make up at least 50 per cent of the assessment team, which will give them the opportunity to drive developments in the health services they receive locally.
For more information you can read the letter in full (the letter is now available on our archived website).