Patients getting improved NHS care

The official report on NHS performance shows continuing improvements at the end of quarter four.


The Quarter 4 report published today sets out NHS quality and financial performance between January and March 2011. Out of 21 measures, it shows the NHS has improved or maintained quality of services in 20 areas, while highlighting only one area where the NHS needs to focus its efforts.

Specifically, the NHS has improved its quality of service in 14 areas, including:

  • A continuing reduction in the rates of hospital acquired infections;
  • Better performance on quickly seeing and treating patients who have mini-strokes;
  • Reduction in breaches of same sex accommodation;
  • Under-18 conception rates continue to fall but with local variation;
  • Increased access to dentistry for adults and children, and;
  • Improvement in breast and bowel cancer screening rates.

The NHS has also ensured that patients continue to receive timely access to care. Waiting times over this period remained broadly stable and patients continued to receive NHS treatment quickly following a referral, including for cancer treatment. In March, Referral to Treatment data showed that the average waiting time for admitted patients was 7.9 weeks, and for non-admitted patients 3.7 weeks.

The area in need of improvement is ensuring that under-18 year olds are not admitted to adult psychiatric wards. Incidents where this has occurred are currently being investigated by the NHS.

The report also provides the latest update on NHS finances, showing that the NHS is reporting a year-end surplus of £1.5 billion for 2010/11. This provides a strong foundation for the NHS as it modernises to cope with the pressures of an ageing population and rising costs. For those individual NHS organisations in a weaker financial position, the report sends a strong message that this needs to improve.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said:

"This report shows that the NHS is continuing to perform strongly, providing better care for patients and better value for taxpayers. But if we want our NHS to be truly-world class, and we know that some of our outcomes for patients lag behind European averages, we can, and must, do better."

"I believe modernisation of the NHS will both safeguard the future of our health service, and ensure it is more efficient and more accountable, moving us closer to having a high-quality health service that puts patients at the heart of everything it does."

Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS David Flory said:

"This report shows that the NHS is continuing to deliver strongly for patients – putting the NHS in a good position for the transitional year ahead. But we know that the NHS faces unprecedented challenges with an ageing population and the rising costs of complex technology and medicines."

"The challenge going forward is to maintain high quality care, while ensuring we maintain strong financial control."

The Quarter report updates the NHS on progress towards key priorities, including financial health for January to March 2011 and can be found here.

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The Operating Theatre Journal, OTJ, is published monthly and distributed to every hospital operating theatre department in the UK. The distribution includes both the National Health Service and the Private Sector.

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