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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 21 May 2007

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Trust is a top 40 Hospitals for 6th year running

FOR the 6th year running, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has been named among the top performers in the country's 6th 40 Top Hospitals programme assessed by the country's leading hospital benchmarking company, CHKS.  Figures released by independent benchmarking expert CHKS reveal that patients treated at a 40 Top Hospital are safer and less likely to pick up hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

CHKS examined the number of actual deaths versus the expected number of deaths for each hospital and discovered that although overall mortality rates are falling across most hospitals, on average there were 297 fewer deaths than expected within each of the CHKS 40 Top Hospitals compared to 73 fewer deaths than expected for those outside this group.  The analysis also found that there were 12% fewer MRSA infections within the CHKS 40 Top and that the use of beds was more efficient so the hospitals are able to treat more patients.

Commenting on the Trust's achievement, Chief Executive Jonathan Parry said:- "We have entered this programme for the last six years and each year we have been named in the 40 Top Hospitals and this is a fantastic achievement. We would not have received this award if it weren't for the hard work of all our staff. It shows that their skill, dedication and commitment has improved the quality of care we provide to our patients and the health community. This award is particularly satisfying as it is an opportunity to be judged against other Trusts across the country."

In this year's programme a number of NHS Trusts have improved their performance in the indicators selected by CHKS, making the achievement of a place in the top 40 that much harder. In addition, more trusts entered the programme this year than last year.   Using the most up to date data available to the NHS, 20 performance indicators (listed below), including mortality rates and MRSA rates, cancelled procedures and information from patient surveys, are used to assess clinical effectiveness, outcomes, efficiency and patient-carer experience.

Graham Harries, Chief Executive, CHKS said:- "Hospitals using our benchmarking tools are working to achieve targets in a very challenging environment. Good news stories in the NHS are often overshadowed and we are proud to be able to highlight and reward some of the best practice and excellent work done in the NHS. These success stories should not only give patients faith in their health service but also reward staff for their dedication and efforts to improve their performance and provide the best possible service."


99% of practice nurses in the North West are regularly asked about chlamydia by patients, but 71% are unable to answer queries as they have not had sexual health training, a survey has revealed.  This is despite the fact nurses are at the frontline of providing sexual health and contraception advice following the issue of National Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines in February.

In a survey commissioned by Durex during National Condom Week (14-21 May), 75% of nurses in the region said they’re asked about contraception and STIs 2 to 10 times a week, with 24% saying they’re asked more frequently than that.  44% of questions were about HIV/AIDS.  75% of nurses in the north west said their practice doesn’t have a budget to deliver sexual health advice or provide free contraception. Only 12% of nurses in the region say they run dedicated contraception or STI clinics.  96% said that more training should be made available to them, with 77% calling for more formal training and 60% saying they needed more safer sex literature to help them inform patients.

The survey, the results of which have drawn the interest of UK sexual health charities, all of whom are supporting National Condom Week, found that questions about STIs and contraception make up the bulk of queries that practice nurses receive. 1000 practice nurses took part, including nearly 200 nurses in the North West.  Rates of STIs have been increasing over the last 10 years, according to the Health Protection Agency, with people aged under-25 most at risk of catching one.

Tina Bishop, from the Royal College of Nursing Practice Nurse Association, said:- “Practice nurses have a key role to play in delivering sexual health and contraception advice in their clinics.  But this survey appears to show that they are not receiving the vital training that is necessary to ask a patient about their sexual health. Up-to-date training is a core component of a nurse’s skills and competencies and can boost the confidence of a nurse so they feel able to ask about sensitive subjects such as sexual health.  Practice nurses are often the first port of call for someone who has a health matter and they are at the forefront of delivering advice and healthcare in a modern surgery. That is why it’s so important for them to receive training in a wide range of issues.”

Durex is offering 10 training bursaries each worth £500 available to nurses during National Condom Week. Nurses should go to to apply.

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