Hospital trust is ‘of lowest risk to patients’

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A South Yorkshire hospital is among the best-performing in the country, according to the health watchdog.

Patients at Barnsley Hospital are at the lowest risk of being harmed, new rankings from the Care Quality Commission have shown.

The commission placed trusts into six bands - and Barnsley has been included in band six, the group which is of least concern.

The hospital scored well in areas such as infection control and patient feedback. And the rate of bugs caught on wards and the number of complaints were lower than expected.

While drawing up the report, the CQC asked a series of questions checking whether the hospital’s services were ‘safe, effective, caring and well-led’, and looked at 150 different indicators, such as staff surveys and statistics measuring performance.

Diane Wake, chief executive of Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted the CQC has placed us in its lowest risk band yet again.

“This shows we are maintaining the high quality of care we provide to our patients, and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.”

The commission uses the bands to target its inspections, using the information to decide which hospitals to visit and when.

Barnsley was previously placed in the lowest-risk band in October 2013, and again in March this year.

But last month the official regulator Monitor told bosses at the hospital to draw up a plan of action setting out how they will get the trust back on a stable footing after a £7.5 million hole was discovered in its accounts.

Hospital chiefs also promised to bring in outside support to help hit A&E targets.

In the last 18 months, the hospital had five breaches of the national target to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours.

A financial investigation was launched in April and uncovered ‘wider issues’ with how the trust was run.