Sheffield’s hospitals ‘nation’s safest’

Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital
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The risk of being given poor care at Sheffield’s hospitals is among the lowest in the country, according to a review by the health watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission has placed each NHS trust into six bands, ranked according to performance in 150 key areas.

Both Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals – the Northern General, Weston Park and Royal Hallamshire hospitals – have been placed in band six, meaning they are of the least concern to inspectors.

The CQC intends to run checks on every hospital in England by 2015, as part of an overhaul of the regulation system.

Hospitals will soon be given Ofsted-style ratings ranging from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’.

The criteria trusts are rated on are grouped into five key areas - safety, caring, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership.

Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, compared the risk-grading process to ‘screening’, and said the forthcoming inspections will provide a ‘diagnosis’.

He added: “Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing us where we need to focus inspections.

“We aim to publish the results at regular intervals. They will provide the basis for constant contact with NHS hospitals and other organisations, and may lead to inspections in response to particular issues.”

Barnsley Hospital was also placed in band six, while Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s level of risk was rated five.

Rotherham Hospital was graded at four, but the risk of poor care for patients at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust was the highest in South Yorkshire, with the organisation put in band three.

Nationally, 44 out of 161 trusts were placed in the two highest risk bands, including troubled United Lincolnshire Hospitals.

Lincolnshire is entering into a ‘buddying-up’ scheme with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in an attempt to raise its standards.