NHS survey reveals North East patients are positive

North East hospitals have been given a glowing report in an official survey prompted by concerns about poor treatment at hospitals across the country

Patients have given hospitals across the North East a glowing report in an official survey designed to make the NHS more accountable.

The findings come as the health service is under intense scrutiny following concerns about poor treatment at hospitals across the country.

But patients in the region have said they would recommend the hospitals that treated them to their closest friends and family members.

Prime Minister David Cameron launched the initiative last year, saying that the simple test would help under-performing hospitals in England to “raise their game”.

Patients are asked to fill in a form revealing how likely they would be to recommend the ward or A&E department that treated them.

The tough scoring system used by the Government means that only patients who say they are “extremely likely” to recommend the hospital are counted as a positive response – and the hospital has points taken away for any patients who say they would not recommend it.

Freeman Hospital in Newcastle received a score of 75% from in-patients while the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, received 80%.

North Tyneside General Hospital received a score of 69% while South Tyneside General Hospital, South Shields, received a score of 84%. Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, received a score of 79%.

Satisfaction levels were lower for accident and emergency patients but still positive across the North East.

The results were published two weeks after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced 11 hospitals across the country would be put into “special measures” after a review uncovered what Mr Hunt called “very concerning examples of poor practice”.

Annie Laverty, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s director of patient experience, said: “We place great emphasis on making sure we capture the views of our patients so we can continuously improve quality and we are delighted with the response rate we have had since this new national measure was introduced in April.

“We know that the very large majority of our patients are very satisfied with the care they have received from us, but we also know that sometimes things do not live up to the high standards we have set ourselves.

“Feedback from the 1% of inpatients and 5% of people attending A&E who are not likely to recommend our services is what we are most interested in understanding so that we can make tangible quality improvements.”

Sir Leonard Fenwick, chief executive of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We welcome the publication of ward and specialty scores on the NHS Choices and NHS England websites so the public can see at a glance how we perform.

“In fact, we are also publishing ward scores at the entrance to each ward so patients and visitors can see before they enter how well that ward is doing.”

One ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary received a negative score but this was based on feedback from only two patients, with only one of these complaining about the ward.

Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell said: “The friends and family tests are based on first-hand experiences of visiting the hospitals and receiving treatment and it is clearly welcome news that, of those who responded, over 70% of A&E patients and people using inpatients services in Newcastle would be ‘extremely likely’ to recommend the service they received to friends and family.”

But Jocelyn Cornwell, director of new patient charity the Point of Care Foundation, said the data is “not meaningful”.

AT A GLANCE

IN-PATIENT FIGURES:

Darlington Memorial Hospital received a “friends and family” score of 70%.

University Hospital of North Durham, 73%.

University Hospital of North Tees, 72%

Sunderland Royal Hospital, 77%

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, 79%

Hexham General Hospital 87%

North Tyneside General Hospital, near South Shields, 69%

South Tyneside General Hospital, South Shields, 84%

Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, 75%

The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, 80%

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