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NHS bosses see hospital 'through the eyes of patients' with new patient-led assessments of the care environment scheme
Health bosses have welcomed a new scheme allowing patients to assess their local hospital describing the first results as "promising".
The PLACE (patient-led assessments of the care environment) scheme was launched in April with thousands of people going into hospitals across the country to assess how hospitals’ food, cleanliness and general building maintenance and patients’ privacy and dignity were maintained.
PLACE, which replaces the old Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) assessments, focuses on the hospital environment and does not cover the way in which clinical care is provided or how well staff are doing their job.
St Albans City Hospital scored 95 per cent for cleanliness, 89 for food, 72 for privacy, dignity and wellbeing, and 87 for condition and maintenance.
Watford General Hospital scored 97 per cent for cleanliness, 87 for food, 80 for privacy, dignity and wellbeing and 90 for condition and maintenance compared to national averages of 96, 89, 89 and 85 per cent.
Hemel Hempstead Hospital was not assessed because of the low number of inpatients treated there.
Chief executive Samantha Jones said: "Every NHS patient should be cared for with compassion and dignity in a clean, safe environment.
"Where standards fall short, they should be able to draw it to the attention of managers and hold the service to account. The PLACE scheme allows us to see things through the eyes of patients and provides a clear message about how the environment or services might be enhanced.
"The results for our hospitals are promising, especially in relation to the quality of our food, the condition and maintenance of our buildings, and cleanliness.
"However, we are not complacent and will use PLACE to help improve the way that we do things, especially when it comes to ensuring that our patients are treated with privacy and dignity.
"I would like to thank the patients and local people who took part in this year’s PLACE assessment and to encourage our patients and other local people to volunteer for future reviews."
PLACE assessments will take place every year. This year over 4,600 hospitals, hospices and other healthcare facilities were assessed.
People interested in becoming a PLACE assessor should contact their local Healthwatch group (www.healthwatch.co.uk) or their local hospital.
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