David Cameron targets patient care improvement


David Cameron visited NHS hospitals today to highlight a new plan to drive up care standards.

Under the initiative announced by the Prime Minister, nurses will be told to undertake hourly ward rounds while members of the public will be allowed to inspect hospitals.

Mr Cameron said most patients are happy with NHS care but there have been well publicised cases of patients not getting good basic treatment on issues such as food and drink or being treated with respect.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, toured Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, which he called a "model" hospital, where he met patients and talked to nurses, sisters and matrons, praising the general level of nursing care in the NHS.

He said: "I think the standard is very high, in the overwhelming majority of cases people rightly revere our nurses in Britain, but it's quite clear in a limited number of cases standards have fallen below what is acceptable, we have seen that in CQC (Care Quality Commission) reports, we have seen it with our own experiences as constituency MPs, elderly relatives not getting the care they need. And so what we need to do is make sure that doesn't happen.

"Here in Salford we are getting hourly nursing rounds where patients are asked every hour about whether there are any problems, making sure we have patient-led inspections of hospitals, making sure we have simple service where we ask patients and staff, 'Would you be happy for your relatives to be treated in this hospital?'

"Making sure that managers of hospitals, the boards of hospitals, look at the quality of care above everything else, simple straightforward things that are done here in the best hospitals in our NHS, but need to be done everywhere else."

The Government has pledged to "put right" the problems after the CQC found issues with dignity and respect for patients in hospitals up and down the country.

The Prime Minister said hourly ward rounds, the system already running at Salford Royal, had decreased the number of falls by patients, bed sore complaints had gone down and hospital infections were "rock bottom".

He added: "This is a fabulous example of the best of our NHS by putting care, the quality of care, the quality of nursing before everything else and we need to do that in every hospital in our country."

Both the Prime Minister and Health Secretary followed infection control instructions to wash their hands, roll their sleeves up and tuck their ties into their shirts as they toured the wards.

As he scrubbed-up, Mr Cameron asked nurses: "How to get your children to wash their hands, any tips on that?"

Mr Cameron had a meeting with a group of matrons to talk about providing leadership on wards and excellence in patient care.

Charlotte Barrett, a ward matron, then gave him a tour of one ward where he spoke to patient Julie Lawrence, 51, from Leigh, near Wigan, about the hourly ward rounds and the Prime Minister was then accompanied by Karen Coverley, a nursing director, to speak to patient Deborah Bates, 45, from Bolton, to see how bedside computer systems were cutting down on paperwork.

Mr Lansley asked nurses what sort of things patients were telling them or asking for after hourly rounds were introduced.

Sister Jane Kingham told the Health Secretary a regular request from patients was: "Can I have another brew?"

In October, the CQC found a fifth of NHS hospitals are breaking the law on care of the elderly.

Its study also found half of hospitals are failing to provide all-round good nutrition to elderly patients while 40% do not offer dignified care.

Of 100 hospitals investigated in England, 49 were found to generate minor, moderate or major concerns about nutritional standards for elderly people.

Patients will also lead inspections of hospital wards, with local people becoming part of teams assessing cleanliness, dignity and nutrition.

A new "friends and family test" will also ask whether patients, carers and staff would recommend their hospital to friends and family.

The results will be published and hospital leaders who fail the test will be held to account.

The Prime Minister was also visiting Blackpool Victoria Infirmary later today.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "People have learnt from bitter experience to take David Cameron's pronouncements on the NHS with more than a pinch of salt.

"This is the man who promised no top-down reorganisation of the NHS but then brought forward the biggest in its history.

"This is the man who is wasting £3.45 billion on back-office restructuring while axeing 48,000 nursing posts."

Mr Burnham called on the Prime Minister to axe the "unnecessary" revamp of the NHS in England, adding: "His reckless decision to reorganise the NHS at this time of financial challenge not only proves he is out of touch but also threatens to throw the entire system into chaos."


Suggested Topics
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'