Published on: 12 October 2006
The Healthcare Commission has said Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust is getting the basics right – but that there is room for improvement. And a Fitness for Purpose review looking at all the country’s Primary Care Trusts has judged that Tower Hamlets is fit for the future.
The Healthcare Commission’s annual assessment of the NHS, which includes performance ratings for each trust, and the Fitness for Purpose review are both published today, 12 October.
The performance ratings assessment found that the PCT fully met all “core standards” and existing targets set by the government.
The overall rating for 2005-06 the PCT was “fair” for use of resources and quality of services.
The Fitness for Purpose review commissioned by the Department of Health found that the PCT was in the top category “on or above standard” in all five areas that were looked at. These were strategy, finance, governance, emergency planning and external relations with local organisations.
PCT chief executive Alwen Williams said: “I am delighted the PCT has been judged to be fit for the future by the Department of Health review.
“And it is very important that we have been found to be getting the basics right by the Healthcare Commission. The Commission said we ‘fully met’ the core standards and the government’s existing targets".
“We fully achieved 17 targets set for important issues such as ensuring local people can see a GP within 48 hours, or ensuring two weeks is the maximum any patient suspected of having cancer has to wait between GP referral and an outpatient appointment.”
The PCT was rated as good on two reviews of services. One looked at how the PCT is helping to reduce the number of people who smoke. The other examined the way mental health and social care services for people aged between 18 and 65 are provided in local communities.
The PCT also achieved 22 out of 28 new targets set by the government around improving the health of local people. But failing to achieve more meant the PCT was judged as fair rather than good in this area. When deciding on ratings for PCTs, the Healthcare commission has a points system. The PCT achieved 29 points for new targets – one point short of the “good” rating.
Success in new targets included:
Ensuring outreach services are there for people with mental health problems
GPs offering help to give up smoking to people with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
Ensuring people can be seen by a genito-urinary medicine clinic within 48 hours of contacting the clinic.
Alwen said “One of the new targets we failed on was the number of local women aged 50 to 70 who were screened for breast cancer. This screening can save lives and we are working hard to make sure more women take up their invitation to be screened.
“We were rated as good for our services to help people stop smoking and excellent for reducing the risk from smoking and second hand smoke for staff. I am very pleased with that. If there is one thing that will make a difference to improving the health of local people, it is reducing the number of people who smoke.”
Alwen said: “We are getting the basics right. We have the plans, the dedicated staff in the PCT, in GP practices, pharmacies and many other services to make sure we hit even more of the targets this year.”
Our Healthcare Commission rating
Tower Hamlets PCT’s ratings, in the Healthcare Commission’s categories:
Fair for use of resources.
Fair for quality of services
The quality of services rating is made up from scores in the following areas:
Getting the basics right
Core standards – which we fully met
Existing national targets – which we fully met
Making and sustaining progress
Meeting new national targets to improve the healthcare of the public – rated fair
Substance misuse – rated fair
Tobacco control – rated good
Adult community mental health services – rated good
Core standards, which we fully met, look at:
Safety – are services safe?
Clinical and cost effectiveness – are we providing treatment in line with national guidelines and in the most effective way?
Governance – is the PCT well run?
Patient focused – do we organise services around the needs and preferences of patients?
Accessible and responsive care
Care environment and amenities – is the place where you are treated well designed and maintained?
Public health – do we improve, promote and protect the health of local people?
The Healthcare Commission ratings of poor, fair good and excellent replace previous star ratings.
Further information on the annual health check is on: www.healthcarecommission.org.uk/annualhealthcheck
The Fitness for Purpose reviews
The Department of Health has said that the Fitness for Purpose review does not measure current performance, it assesses how prepared PCTs are for the future.
This examination, carried out by external reviewers found:
High quality service provision
A strong organisational culture with clear targets and processes for achieving targets
A strong performing PCT with an effective management
Strong working relationships with other local organisations and groups
All PCTs will undergo this Fitness for Purpose review, commissioned by the Department of Health.
The Fitness for Purpose results are published at: www.dh.gov.uk/cplnhs