There has been a marked improvement in the standard of NHS inpatient ward environments in England, according to latest Patient Environment Action Team assessment scores.
The results of this year’s PEAT assessments, which involved 1,265 inpatient sites with more than 10 beds, were published last week by the National Patient Safety Agency.
Overall 84% of sites scored either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for their environment – cleanliness, decoration, linen, furniture and state of repair – compared with 75% in 2008.
In addition, scores for standards of food, and privacy and dignity – already high – remained so. Overall 94% of sites achieved an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ rating this year for privacy and dignity, and 95% for food – both virtually unchanged from last year (see below).
A total of 219 sites scored ‘excellent’ on all three categories – environment, food, and privacy and dignity – but 17 were also rated ‘poor’ or ‘unacceptable’ on at least one category.
For example, West Hertfordshire PCT, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust all had a site rated ‘unacceptable’ on environment. Additionally, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust had one site rated ‘unacceptable’ for food and Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust one for ‘privacy and dignity’.
However, NPSA chief executive Martin Fletcher praised the number of sites scoring top marks in all categories. He said: ‘The number of sites that have achieved this is the highest ever yet and I would like to congratulate everyone for making this happen.’
Additional analysis by Nursing Times found that, overall, 20 PCTs and 22 acute or mental health trusts scored ‘excellent’ in all categories across all of their sites.
Shelley Dolan, chief nurse at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, which achieved excellent ratings in all areas, said: ‘I am delighted with our PEAT inspections results. They are a credit to our staff for their hard and work and dedication.’
Tracey Nutter, director of nursing at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, another trust that scored top marks in all areas, said the ratings were a ‘reflection’ of her staff’s ‘hard work, commitment and achievement’.
Christine Baxter, director of nursing of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also rated ‘excellent’ in all areas, added: ‘These are excellent results and they are down to good teamwork on the part of our nursing staff and the domestic, catering, and reception staff who all have a part to play in making sure that the environment is one that we would want for all our patients.’
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs 10 hospitals, was the organisation with the most sites to achieve excellent status in all categories.
Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at the trust, said: ‘The majority of the trusts which have also seen all of its hospital sites rated as excellent have one or two sites so the fact that we have 10 makes this an even bigger achievement.
‘This is a real team effort and we are very proud of all of our staff who have helped us achieve this rating. It demonstrates the high standards on our wards on all of our hospitals and we are committed to maintaining these high standards,’ she added.
PEAT scores 2008-2009
Privacy and Dignity