Government says hospital cleanliness is improving

The number of NHS hospitals rated ‘green’ for cleanliness and food quality have doubled, according to official figures released by the Government today.

Independent inspections carried out on behalf of the Department of Health found that the number of acute and community hospitals which received the Government’s top rating increased from 81 to 192.

Hospitals in England are rated on a traffic light system where a green score denotes high standards which almost always meet patient expectations, amber denotes acceptable standards which have room for improvement and red denotes poor standards in need of urgent improvement.

The inspectors found that in terms of cleanliness, 687 hospitals or 78% of those assessed, were classed as green; while 191 hospitals, or 22%, were considered to have ‘acceptable’ standards and were awarded an amber rating.

For food, 479 sites, or 56% of those inspected, received an amber rating and 372, or 44%, achieved a green rating.

No hospitals were given a red rating for either food or cleanliness.

Health Minister, Lord Norman Warner stated, ‘There is still more to do before we provide the high standards which always meet patient needs and generally exceed their expectations but these latest results show that we have made progress towards consistently high quality hospital food services that are well-regarded by patients.’

However, questions have been raised about the validity of the department’s findings.

Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, Dr Liam Fox highlighted that a recent survey showed that 11% of patients said bathrooms and toilets were dirty and 7% said the same about wards.

Dr Fox stated, ‘Today’s figures merely undermine the credibility of the star ratings system even further. The ratings bear no relation to the quality of care that patients are receiving.’

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, dr Evan Fox added, ‘The clean hospital programme should be prosecuted under the trade
description act. It is nothing of the sort. It covers different standards of which only one is about cleanliness and none are about the control of
infection. It’s another example of Government spin over-riding good judgement and accurate information for patients. The Government should be enabling hospitals to treat patients properly instead of treating targets.’