Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust has been awarded three (3) stars – the highest possible rating – in the latest annual health check by the Healthcare Commission. The Trust, which received a zero rating in 2001, has made sustained progress in recent years with one star in 2002 and two stars in 2003 and 2004. The detailed performance report for Ashford & St. Peter’s Hospitals is available on the Healthcare Commission’s website at

“This is a tremendous achievement,” commented Clive Thompson CBE, Chairman at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust. “I would like to congratulate all staff, volunteers and contractors – indeed everyone including our colleagues in Primary Care Trusts - on their contribution to reaching this goal. The difference between the Trust as it is now and when it was zero rated in 2001 is very noticeable. We have made sustained progress towards these well earned three stars and this is a superb achievement.”

The NHS performance ratings system places NHS trusts in England into one of four categories:

  • Trusts with the highest levels of performance are awarded a performance rating of three stars;
  • Trusts that are performing well overall, but have not quite reached the same consistently high standards, are awarded a performance rating of two stars;
  • Trusts where there is some cause for concern regarding particular areas of performance are awarded a performance rating of one star;
  • Trusts that have shown the poorest levels of performance against the indicators or little progress in implementing clinical governance are awarded a performance rating of zero stars.

Mr Thompson continued: “Although we are celebrating success over the last few years the current year, 2005/06, is going to be much more difficult than any previous year. Our NHS bank support came to an end in 2004/05 and we will not see the potential financial benefits of ‘Payment by Results’ until 2006/07. We have become a more efficient, more responsive and more patient focused organisation over the last three years. This will stand us in good stead for the challenges of Foundation status and patient choice but it does not resolve the short term financial problem we have this year.”


Demand on the Trust’s services has increased as follows over the last three years:

Service 2002/03 2004/05 Increase (nos) Increase (%)
A&E attendances 98,159 107,603 9,444 9.62
Emergency Admissions 22,008 27,574 5,566 25.29
Outpatients 276,489 288,742 12,253 4.43
In-patients 58,640 65,513 6,873 11.72
Maternity cases 4,439 4,903 464 10.45
Births 3,387 3,620 233 6.88
Day cases 21,326 22,642 1,316 6.17


Ashford and St. Peter’s Chief Executive Glenn Douglas commented: “Against a background of increasing demands and the extensive reconfiguration now underway between our two hospitals, our staff, volunteers, contractors and PCT colleagues have gone the extra distance to enable the Trust to achieve three stars. On behalf of the Executive Directors I want to thank everyone for the service they give to patients and visitors to our two hospitals. This is their achievement and they deserve to be recognised.”

The eight key areas achieved by the Trust are:

  • 12 hour waits for emergency admission via A&E post decision to admit – over 99.5% are admitted within 12 hours;
  • All Cancers: 2 week wait – 99% of suspected cancers are seen within two weeks;
  • Financial management – 2004/05 is the second year we have ‘broken even’ on our agreed financial plan;
  • Hospital cleanliness – independent inspections rated the Trust good on cleanliness;
  • Outpatient and elective (inpatient and day case) booking – all patients now get a telephone call offering a choice of date and time, and participating GPs can book a patient from their surgery ‘on line’;
  • Outpatients waiting longer than the standard – no outpatient now waits longer then 17 weeks for an appointment and by the end of 2005 this will be down to 13 weeks for all referrals from GPs;
  • Patients waiting longer then the standard for elective admission – all patients are seen within the national target of 9 months and most waiting lists are now down to 6 months; and
  • Total time in A&E: 4 hours or less – over 98% of patients wait less than four hours in A&E.


In addition to these areas the Trust achieved the top Band 5 (good) in the following areas:

  • Child protection – ensuring that children in our care are safe and protected
  • Composite of participation in audits – the extent to which the Trust participated in audits
  • Patient complaints – percentage of written complaints for which local resolution was achieved within 20 days.
  • Workforce – an assessment of the Trust’s progress on the ‘Improving working lives’ initiative, sickness absence rates and junior doctors hours.

Glenn Douglas, Chief Executive at Ashford & St. Peter’s continued: “As a Trust we have made significant improvements in recent years with millions spent on improving services such as a new operating theatre, maternity services and neo-natal intensive care, and important support services such as pathology and power supplies. But most of our investment is in people – those who make it possible for us to deliver the excellent services which have been recognised with the award of these three stars.”


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