The Hospital Trusts ‘Setting New Standards’

Patients have a lower risk of catching a potentially lethal infection such as the MRSA superbug at the four Welsh hospital trusts named as being among the best in Wales and England. The four NHS trusts – Bro Morgannwg, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Pontypridd & Rhondda.

The organisation CHKS, which drew up the list, said these hospital trusts are “setting new standards” in patient care. All hospitals in England and Wales were judged against a list of criteria, including rates of the superbugs MRSA and Clostridium difficile. Overall, CHKS – a healthcare consulting company – found there were 12% fewer MRSA infections within the top 40 hospitals.

Rates of infections in Welsh hospitals are generally lower than in England. Figures from the National Public Health Service for Wales reveal the mean rate for MRSA in Welsh hospitals is 0.9 cases per 10,000 bed days, compared to a rate of 1.69 cases per 10,000 bed days in England.

Paul Barnett, chief executive of Carmarthenshire NHS Trust, which runs West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen and Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, said, “Ensuring the safety of our patients and providing the best possible clinical care is the trust’s highest priority. Therefore gaining this accolade is a tremendous achievement. I would like to pay tribute to our staff for their continued hard work, dedication and commitment.”

Paul Williams, chief executive of Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust, which runs the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot Hospital, said, “We are delighted to have received this award for the fourth year in succession. It recognises the sustained hard work of staff to provide high quality services that are patient-focused and delivered within the Welsh Assembly Government targets.

“This award demonstrates that the trust has consistently reached high standards of performance over the last four years. It is a highly valued achievement whereby the hospital’s performance is judged against a wide range of performance indicators that are equally important to our patients and staff.”

CHKS also examined the number of actual deaths versus the expected number of deaths for each hospital and found that although overall mortality rates are falling for most hospitals, on average there were 297 fewer deaths than expected within each of the top 40 hospitals, compared to 73 fewer deaths than expected for those outside this group.

And the use of beds in the top 40 hospitals was also found to be more efficient – each hospital was typically able to save the equivalent of 48 beds for 2007.

Graham Harries, chief executive of CHKS, said, “Good news stories in the NHS are often overshadowed and we are proud to be able to highlight and reward some of the best practice and excellent work done in the NHS. These success stories should not only give patients faith in their health service but also reward staff for their dedication and efforts to improve their performance and provide the best possible service.”