Plan for Five-Star HOSPITALS Service; NHS Will Be Rated in the Same Way as Hotels Hospital Ratings to Include: The Success Rate of Operations Patient Satisfaction Incidence of Infections Picked Up by In-Patients Cleanliness Waiting Times Efficiency

Article excerpt

Hospitals are to get hotel-style star ratings under a plan to raise NHS standards.

The "good hospital guide" will pinpoint the best and worst units across the country.

Tony Blair has taken personal control of the initiative, which follows his call last week for NHS staff to deliver better quality patient care in return for the pounds 2 billion cash injection announced in the Budget.

He wants to eliminate the gaping variations in the quality of service from one health region to another.

It's the first time a fixed national standard has been introduced in the history of the NHS.

Stars - or another symbol more appropriate for the NHS - will be awarded when a hospital meets new standards in different performance categories, which include the success rate of operations, patient satisfaction, cleanliness, waiting times and efficiency.

In some health trusts there are no patients waiting more than six months for non-urgent medical treatment.

But in other areas there are as many as 14 per cent waiting more than 12 months. In orthopaedic surgery the range goes from no patients waiting for more than six months to more than 26 per cent waiting over a year.

In some places patients entering hospital for minor surgery stand only a two to seven per cent chance of being discharged the same day. In others the score is a 100 per cent. …