Standards at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust continue to rise, according to analysis for the Healthcare Commission.
The Trust’s submission, which will form the basis for this autumn’s Annual Health Check results, shows it met all requirements in 37 out of 43 categories throughout 2007/08.
The remaining six categories were fully met by the end of March, following concerted efforts during the year.
This marks a major improvement since 2006/07, when the Trust met 24 standards throughout the year and a further 14 by the end of the year, while failing to meet six (see note to editors).
The Healthcare Commission focuses on seven essential areas:
- care environment and amenities
- clinical and cost effectiveness
- patient focus
- accessible and responsive care
- public health
These are broken down into the 43 categories, which range from the reporting of incidents and levels of training to patient information and the involvement of patients and local people.
One of the main areas of progress since last year is in the handling of complaints. The Trust did not meet any of the three relevant standards in 2006/07.
This time, all three are declared as met, following an overhaul of the complaints system to clear backlogs and appoint new staff. Complaints are now handled by a Customer Relations Department.
The Healthcare Commission will now verify the submission, along with those of all trusts around the country, before publishing its Annual Health Check in October.
Trust Deputy Chief Executive Jo Gibbs said: “We’ve come a long way over the last couple of years, raising standards right across the board at North Devon District Hospital and in our community hospitals and services.
“Staff have put in a huge amount of work to make sure not just that we’re doing things right, but that we have the evidence to prove it.
“I hope it’s reassuring to patients and visitors that the tough national standards are being met. That certainly seems to be the case, given the findings of the new national in-patient survey this week, in which people who’ve been treated here gave us the best marks in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.”
The Trust’s submission to the Healthcare Commission is available here