The Healthcare Commission has revealed the performance ratings for NHS Trusts throughout the country. In this report, we take a look at how Chester and Wirral health organisations are measuring up.


THE Countess of Chester Hospital NHS foundation Trust has gained the highest three-star ranking for the fifth consecutive year.

Foundation Trust chief executive Peter Herring said: 'The Countess is one of only six acute trusts throughout the country to have achieved three star status in every one of the five years since the performance rating was introduced.

'This was a particularly challenging year with the introduction of a new target for 98% of patients attending A&E to be treated within four hours.'

The Healthcare Commission's independent assessment shows the trust achieved the eight key national targets for A&E, waiting times for operations, out-patient appointments, cancer treatment, financial management, patient booking and hospital cleanliness.

The trust also generally performed well across a balanced scorecard of 33 performance indicators, covering the quality of clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, quality and safety of services, as well as issues relating to the hospital environment and staff.


CHESHIRE and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust has earned two stars for its performance in delivering specialist mental health care services.

All mental health trusts have been assessed on their performance during 2004-2005 against a set of rigorous targets, which reflect the national priorities for improving mental health service provision.

The trust achieved four out of five of these targets which were: CPA systems implementation; crisis

resolution team implementation; financial management and hospital cleanliness.

The trust also received the top scores of 4 and 5 in many of the balanced scorecard indicators, including:

Child protection; enhanced CPA indicator; drug misuse: 12 week treatment retention rate; better hospital food; learning disability: reducing long-term NHS residence; patient complaints; privacy and dignity.

Despite having made significant improvements from last year, the trust underachieved on the mental health minimum data set key target.

Chief executive Stephen Eames said: 'We have made substantial progress since last year. Although we missed out on three stars by a narrow margin, we will continue to improve all our services in the coming year.'


BOSSES at the Mersey Regional Ambulance Service have pledged to work hard to make improvements after it was given a zero star rating - down from last year's two stars.

Chairman of the trust, Ken Hoskisson, said: 'We are disappointed with the result but it was not unexpected. The rating shows we failed to meet our response targets but other elements of our work, such as clinical care on scene, are good.

'I would assure the public that we are taking these matters seriously and working very hard behind the scenes with everyone we need to in order to improve things as quickly as possible.'

In recognition of the issues a far-reaching review has taken place at the express desire of the ambulance service, strategic health authority and its commissioners - the 15 primary care trusts throughout Cheshire and Merseyside.

Mr Hoskisson said: 'There have been significant problems throughout the year with our ability to meet the response time targets but we have acknowledged and recognised this.

'Several months ago we set about commissioning a piece of work that will help us improve services for patients quickly.

'The Trust board will be looking in detail at the recommendations of this review later this week. I envisage that the board will agree a comprehensive programme of improvement that will make a huge difference to those patients of Cheshire and Merseyside using our services.'


WIRRAL NHS Hospital Trust has retained its three star status for the fourth consecutive year, reaffirming its reputation as one of the best performing NHS organ-isations in the country.

The trust has achieved seven of the Healthcare Commission's eight key targets, including hospital cleanliness, reducing waiting times and achieving a maximum four-hour wait from arrival to discharge for 98% of Accident and Emergency patients.

Chief executive Frank Burns said: 'We are thrilled to have retained our three star status, and be one of only seven NHS organisations in Cheshire and Merseyside to gain the maximum rating.


THE regional centre of excellence for cancer, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Trust (CCO), has maintained its three star rating for the third successive year.

The three star standard is the highest possible in the NHS performance rating system which places hospital trusts into one of four categories ranging from three stars to a rating of zero stars.

Chief executive Tony Halsall said: 'We are delighted that we have achieved a three star rating for the third year in succession. It was particularly important for us to maintain the standard this year as our application to become a Foundation Trust was dependent on us achieving this.'