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NHS improvements must be a priority to avoid hospital complaints

Hospital complaints remaining low


Health Minister Andy Burnham has reiterated his continued determination to make improvements to patients' environments in the NHS a priority to avoid a rise in hospital complaints.

Although acknowledging the progress that has been made to date, with over 60% of hospitals having a patient environment rated as 'Good' or 'Excellent' in 2006 inspections, he has stated there is still work to be done.

The Patient Environment Action Teams inspected standards of cleanliness and food, with both areas showing sustained progress this year. Coming in for particular praise was Liverpool's Alder Hey hospital, improving from a rating of 'good' in both areas in 2005 to 'excellent' in 2006. And both the Royal Victoria in Newcastle and the Birmingham's Women's hospitals maintained their rating of 'excellent'.

However, these should not overshadow those reports of bad experiences and poor standards of hospital hygiene, as all hospitals should be achieving these higher ratings.

The Health Minister also pointed out that there is no shortage of NHS capital available for these improvements, so patients should be getting a better standard of service.