Zero star rating for local health trust

Hounslow PCT claim improved performance not reflected in ranking

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The Commission for Health Improvement has judged Hounslow Primary Care Trust to be a zero star trust for the 2003/4 period.

They ‘significantly underachieved’ in the area of Access to a GP or Primary Care Professional.

PCT Chair Christine Hay said, “This time last year, 60% of patients could see a GP within 48 hours and 70% could see another primary care professional, such as a practice nurse, within 24 hours. We have been hitting 100% in both categories since February, which is by any standards a remarkable turnaround. But we lose out because the star rating is now being based on average figures across the year. Hopefully when the star ratings are reformed, as the Secretary of State for Health has promised, this sort of anomaly will be addressed.”

The trust has recruited 21 new GPs in two years, more than any other PCT in London and almost one a month

The PCT is judged to have ‘underachieved’ in terms of waiting times at West Middlesex A&E. The target of seeing, discharging or admitting 90% of patients within four hours has not been met throughout the year. The disruption of the move to the new building added to pressure on emergency services at the end of last year, meaning that the average figures over the year suffered. However, the target is now being met, with the figure consistently over 95% since April.

The other area in which PCT has ‘underachieved’ is Financial Management, arising from its inherited financial deficit. The PCT has managed, through internal brokerage, to remain within its financial targets this year. However, a substantial underlying financial deficit remains and a financial recovery plan will be presented to the PCT Board and the Strategic Health Authority in July.

Cllr Colin Ellar, Leader of Hounslow Borough Council, said that the trust deserved great credit after delivering improvements despite being hampered by debts inherited from the previous Health Authority.

The PCT hit all its other Key Performance Indicators – Drug Misuse Treatment, Smoking Cessation, Improving Working Lives, Outpatient waiting times and Inpatient elective waiting times. (See attached appendix for a full breakdown of PCT performance in all Key Performance Indicators.)

Ann Keen, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, commented that the latest figures show real improvement and said of the Trust, "they have the leadership, the staff and the plans in place and have already made big improvements to healthcare in Hounslow. The staff at the PCT have worked very hard throughout the year to continue to push for improved standards and I would like to thank them personally for all their hard work."

The West Middlesex University NHS Trust has dropped from a two-star rating to just one-star in the latest NHS rankings. Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the Brentford and Isleworth constituency, Alexander Northcote said: “The West Middlesex is supposed to be a gleaming example of the success of New Labour’s approach to the NHS. But by Labour’s own measure, instead of getting better, it is getting worse. The doctors and nurses fighting on the frontline are doing their best, but targets and central diktats hamper them and make their lives impossible. This should be seen as a wake-up call to everyone that Labour isn’t working, again.”

Neighbouring health trust Ealing PCT was also given a zero rating with Hammersmith and Fulham PCT awarded one star.

July 21, 2004