The £70m pa quango the Healthcare Commission has just published its Annual Healthcheck, a massive analysis of every health trust in the country. It supposedly tells us how our local NHS hospitals and GPs are doing.
As ever, the news is Excellent:
"For the second consecutive year, annual improvement is evident. In particular, we have again seen roughly a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of trusts scoring excellent for quality of services."
In 2007-08, no fewer than 100 NHS trusts achieved Excellence - 26% of the total.
Now, as regular BOM readers may recall, the Tylers had direct experience of a "flagship" NHS hospital trust during the year in question: Mrs T's 92 year old father was a patient for many weeks before his eventual death just before last Christmas.
It's fair to say we were not impressed: disorganisation, with the left hand never quite knowing what the right hand was doing; nursing staff who seemed more concerned with paperwork and "handovers" than ensuring patients were eating and drinking enough (with the result that seriously dehydrated patients were constantly needing a drip); lack of privacy (including mixed wards); poor cleaning (eg sticky floors on the ward); and generally downbeat demoralised staff kept going only by vast intakes of canteen fat and sugar (see previous blogs eg here and here).
It was both worrying and depressing.
So how does such a hospital score on the Healthcare Commission's ratings?
Presumably it would have to be Weak. Or Fair, at best.
The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust is rated Excellent.
It makes you want to scream.
And if that's Excellence, God help the patients in the 74% of NHS trusts that are rated not excellent