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PPI Forums' concern at health star ratings


Patient forums around the country reacted with concern to today's star ratings on the health of their services.


There were worries around the ratings for some ambulance trusts, as well as mental health trusts. But while many were struggling financially, forum members praised others for improvements shown in the Healthcare Commission's star ratings 2005.


Reactions from patient forums, supported by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, were:



Eric Colley of South Yorkshire Ambulance Services PPI Forum (Stayed at one star.)


“We are obviously disappointed and surprised as we feel the Trust has been doing an excellent job over the past year. Our forum will continue to work with the Trust to ensure that services for patients improve.


We are also surprised as SYAS has actually been asked by the government to pilot a range of new services this year, which shows they must have some belief in the ability of the Trust to perform.”


Joy White of Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service (gone up one to two stars)


“We congratulate the trust and we are pleased that this shows that they are moving in the right direction. Our forum will continue to work with the trust to ensure that services improve for all patients”

Primary Care Trusts

Ray Evans of The Yorkshire Wolds and Coast PPI Forum (Dropped from two stars to no stars)


“We are obviously disappointed, but we believe the Trust is doing the best under tight budget constraints. The Trust is £6.5 million in debt and unless the government changes the situation, the trust is going to be limited in what it can do.”

Robin Mcilroy of Selby and York PPI Forum (Trust, which also has mental health responsibilities, dropped from three stars to one)


“We are not surprised if the main reason for this drop in ratings is the Trust's financial performance. Ultimately it is suffering from a lack of funding.


“However we are pleased that despite this the Trust has provided all the front line services for patients in Selby and York that it has promised.


“Our forum is continuing to meet with Trust to discuss its financial problems. We want to ensure that the solutions the Trust finds are not to the detriment of local health services.”


Dominic Hurley of Rotherham PPI Forum (Trust dropped from three to two stars)


We are disappointed and surprised as we know how hard the PCT has been working over the past year.


Our Forum would be interested to see the reasons behind the decision to take a star off the PCT's rating, as far as we could see its performance was good.”


Myra Garrett, Chair of PPI Forum for Tower Hamlets, said:


“PPI Forum for Tower Hamlets is very pleased that the Trust has jumped from a star rating of zero to two. The Trust has demonstrated a genuine commitment to patient and public involvement and the PPI Forum is happy that our partnership has been fruitful.


“However, there is more work to be done. For example, total time in Accident and Emergency indicates dissatisfaction with GPs”


Janie Thomas, chair of Wyre Forest forum, in Worcs, (down from 3 to 1 star) said:

“Everyone wants top rating but almost all criteria has been outside control of our PCT. We are glad at ending Star Rating as it is not robust enough. Trusts can achieve certain things to get ratings and miss minor things. 


Dorothy Darby, Chair Wolverhampton City PCT Forum, said:

“The Forum congratulate the Trust on achieving an increase from zero rating to 3 stars for Mental Health Services. We look forward to the benefits for the people of Wolverhampton .”


Acute hospital trusts

Southport & Ormskirk Hospital : from 2 stars to 1 star – reported to have ‘significantly under achieved in financial management.'


Forum spokesman John Lyon-Taylor said: "Yes, they are short of money but in a lot of cases they are in the hands of the PCTs to pay them.  They are carrying out work on the PCT's behalf and they are refusing to pay. 


There is no redress for this.  It's not like a commercial organisation, you can't send the baliffs in.  They are reorganising to create a better throughput."


Gwen Foster, Forum chair of Burton Hospitals, which lost two stars, said:


"I'm not surprised. I thought it may go down by 1 star but I am very disappointed it's lost 2. I do think it's a reflection of the service. I don't think it is as good."


Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Forum Chair Sheena Carmichael

(up one star from 0 to 1 star) said:


“We're disappointed that the increase is not two stars!  Many of the fundamentals of good healthcare are now in place.  This is despite the problems of integrating three hospitals and planning the closure of one in advance of the new hospital build at Tunbridge Wells. We have seen marked improvements, for example in hospital cleanliness.”




  Notes to Editors


•  For more details, please call Derek Weekes , Media Manager at the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, tel 0121 222 4562 (mobile 077932 45060).
•  PPI Forums began operation in December 2003 after almost 5,000 volunteers were recruited to the 572 Patient and Public Involvement Forums. There is a Forum for every NHS Trust, Primary Care Trust, and Foundation Trust in England .
•  Forums gather views about health services and make recommendations, influencing NHS services. They monitor the quality of local services, and look at how wider issues such as social care, transport or housing affect health.
•  The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health is an independent, non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health. Its remit is to ensure that the public is involved in decision making about health and health services. The Commission has its National Centre in Birmingham with nine Regional Centres across England .


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