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Saga Healthcare unveils list of best NHS hospitals for treatment

21 March 2006

A study by Saga Health Care* has revealed that the Royal Marsden Hospital in London is England’s top hospital for the treatment of the over 50s, closely followed by the Harrogate District Hospital, which is one of the first NHS foundation trusts.
  • Mortality rates down across the board
  • Waiting list times improved in English hospitals

A study by Saga Health Care* has revealed that the Royal Marsden Hospital in London is England’s top hospital for the treatment of the over 50s, closely followed by the Harrogate District Hospital, which is one of the first NHS foundation trusts. The study also shows that waiting list times are down, as are mortality ratios, and that many more hospitals are now meeting Government targets.

The data in the Saga survey was collated by analysing each NHS hospital in England, Wales and Scotland according to four key factors deemed most important to people aged over 50:

Quality of care in each hospital—number of doctors and nurses and mortality ratios

  • Patient Experience—including cleanliness and confidence in the doctors
  • Infection control—incidence of MRSA
  • Access to services—including in and outpatient wait times

The study looked at 223 hospitals in England, 25 in Scotland and 17 in Wales and scored their performance on each of the key areas outlined above. Time spent on waiting lists has decreased in England, and this is can in part be explained by looking at the growing emphasis placed on reform and government targets. However the picture is radically different in Scotland and Wales, where waiting list times have either stayed the same or marginally increased.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive of Saga said: “This survey provides a snapshot of how the NHS is meeting the needs of today’s over 50s. It is encouraging to see the majority of hospitals performing well, and this is a tribute to the dedication of NHS staff. If people are to make use of the new freedoms to choose the hospital they are treated at, there will be a growing demand for a guide that helps people navigate through NHS performance statistics. I hope that by commissioning this independent review we will help people along with their GP’s make informed choices about their healthcare needs, whether that is with the NHS or elsewhere.”

The Royal Marsden scored an impressive seven credits in key areas for consideration, including levels of cleanliness and outpatient and inpatient waiting times, and is well-staffed to cope with the 40,000 patients it treats annually. The poorest performing hospitals include Scarborough General Hospital, The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex and Whipps Cross University Hospital in London.

Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of the Royal Marsden, said: “We really are absolutely delighted and thrilled to have won.
All our staff consider it a privilege to provide a service for people at a difficult and vulnerable time in their lives. We know that a patients well-being is as much about personal care and support and quality of environment as it is about medical treatment. Many of our patients continue to return to us for checks, investigation or treatment and this means we can build a continuing relationship with them and their families. We try very hard to meet everyones individual needs and the support and feedback from patients helps us to provide the very highest quality of care."

John Lawler, Chief Executive of Harrogate District Hospital commented “I am delighted with the results of this wholly independent survey which are without doubt testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff in Harrogate. We are continually striving to offer the highest possible standards of care for our patients, including a commitment to improve cleanliness and food standards, improve the patient experience and drive down infection rates. We also have some of the lowest waiting times in the NHS and are proud of our overall reputation and success. We hope to continue to build on this position and use the benefits of foundation status to further enhance services and patient care to meet the needs and wishes of local people.”

The study comes at a crucial time for patients, who are now able to choose one of four hospitals where they would like to have their treatment, and later this year, the list will be extended to include the Government’s flagship Foundation hospitals.

Saga is publishing a free guide to getting the best out of the NHS and on the performance of hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland. Copies of Saga’s Guide to Hospitals in Your Region are available by calling 0845 300 0892, or can be ordered via the Saga website: www.saga.co.uk/goodhospitalguide.

Notes to editors:
* The study was compiled for Saga by Dr Foster, the leading independent authority on healthcare quality in the UK.

Number of credits
(out of 10)

Hospital name

Region

7

Royal Marsden Hospital

London

6

Harrogate District Hospital

Yorkshire & Humber

6

Nottingham City Hospital

East Midlands

6

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead

North East

6

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham

West Midlands

6

South Tyneside District Hospital

North East

6

Whittington Hospital, London

London

5

Chesterfield & North Derbyshire Royal Hospital

East Midlands

5

Grantham & District Hospital

East Midlands

5

Queen’s Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham

East Midlands

5

James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

North East

5

Friarage hospital

North East

5

King’s College Hospital, London

London

5

Hereford County Hospital

West Midlands

5

Charing Cross Hospital, London

London

5

Hammersmith Hospital

London

5

Manchester Royal Infirmary

North West

5

Addenbrooke’s Hospital

East of England

5

Bradford Royal Infirmary

Yorkshire & Humber

5

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

London

5

Guy’s Hospital, London

London

5

St Thomas’ Hospital

London

5

Princess Royal Hospital

South East

5

St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford

Yorkshire & Humber

5

Homerton University Hospital, London

London

5

Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

South East

The top performing hospitals in Wales and Scotland are:

Number of Credits
(out of 8)

Hospital Name

Region

3

Withybush General Hospital

Wales

4

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Scotland

The lowest performing hospitals in England are:

Number of Credits
(out of 10)

Hospital Name

Region

0

Scarborough General Hospital

Yorkshire & Humber

1

Whipps Cross University Hospital

London

1

The Princess Alexandra Hospital

East of England

1

Oldchurch Hospital

London

1

King George Hospital

London

1

The Ipswich Hospital

East of England

1

Basildon Hospital

East of England

1

Southport & Formby District General

North West

1

Harold Wood Hospital

London

1

Ormskirk & District General Hospital

North West

About Saga

Saga is the leading provider of products and services to people aged 50 and over in the UK. Saga Services specialises in insurance and has been helping customers to meet their health insurance needs for many years. We offer a range of Private Medical Insurance policies to suit differing customer needs. We also offer a health cash plan which offers 75% cash back on everyday healthcare expenses. For further information about our products and services visit saga.co.uk.

About Dr Foster

Dr Foster produces authoritative health information and guides to health services in Britain, working with the NHS on new ways of helping people learn about local services. It also works with leading academic partners pioneering techniques to monitor clinical quality and improvement, with many NHS organisations adopting its approach. Dr Foster follows a code of conduct monitored by an independent ethics committee. Visit www.drfoster.co.uk for details.

Dr Foster is a registered trademark of DR Foster Intelligence.

For further information, contact:
Paul Green / Angela Clifton
Saga Services
Tel: 01303 776 023
Email: paul.green.pr@saga.co.uk / angela.clifton@saga.co.uk

Chantal Heckford / Francesca Pattison / Helen Ainsworth
Lansons Communications
Tel: 020 7490 8828
Email: chantalh@lansons.com / francescap@lansons.com / helena@lansons.com

Roger Taylor
Dr Foster
Tel: 020 7330 0414
Email: roger.taylor@drfoster.co.uk

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