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Patients are at the centre of new ward inspection regime

NHS England today hailed another step forward in its vision to put the voice of patients at the heart of the NHS.

Thousands of members of the public joined forces with NHS staff to lead over 4,600 assessments of a mix of NHS settings to shine a light on the things that matter most to patients – being treated in clean, safe environment, tasty nutritious food, and high standards of privacy and dignity.

The new Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) were introduced with the key purpose of ensuring patients are at the centre of all inspections of hospital environments, and today marks the first time that detailed data about inspection findings has been published nationally.

The results have today been published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and show:

  • For the cleanliness of wards, including bathrooms, furniture, fixtures and fittings:
    • The national average score was 96 per cent
    • 90 per cent of hospital sites scored more than 80 per cent, of which 144 sites scored 100 per cent
  • For the condition, appearance and maintenance of sites, including decoration, signage, linen and car-park access:
    • The national average score was 89 per cent
    • 68 per cent of hospital sites scored more than 80 per cent, of which two sites scored 100 per cent
  • For patients’ privacy, dignity and wellbeing, including their changing and waiting facilities, appropriate separation of single sex facilities, telephone access and appropriate patient clothing:
    • The national average score was 89 per cent
    • 65 per cent of hospital sites scored more than 80 per cent, of which eighteen sites scored 100 per cent
  • For patients’ food and hydration (including assessment of choice, taste, temperature and availability over 24 hours:
    • The national average score was 85 per cent
    • 70 per cent of hospital sites scored more than 80 per cent, of which four sites scored 100 per cent

Participation in the scheme’s first year was voluntary, but every single NHS-commissioned building that takes patients for overnight stays took part. Teams comprising at least 50% patients scored wards against 150 standards taking in the cleanliness, condition, appearance and maintenance of patient areas, as well as the food and hydration for patients and their privacy and dignity.

Neil Churchill, Director for Patient Experience at NHS England, said:

“NHS England is determined to place patients at the heart of everything the NHS does, and PLACE is a further shift towards patient power. The condition and cleanliness of wards has a huge effect on how comfortable, relaxed and confident patients feel, which in turn affects how quickly they recover.

“Local people leading these inspections ensure independent, fresh pairs of eyes checking out our hospital wards, really making clear to senior managers how their patients feel when receiving care. Patients were keen to get involved, and more than a quarter of hospitals had more volunteers than they needed.

“National publication of the results is also another step forward in our mission to be completely transparent about everything the NHS does, and I would urge everyone to take a look at the assessments, alongside the increasing volume of other information we are publishing about hospitals’ safety and quality. We want hospitals to study and act on the data, and patients to look at the information when making choices about their care.”

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