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Health authority second worst in country

PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:25 03 July 2010

Three East Anglian health authorities are among the worst 10 in the country, according to a new performance league table.

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney is the second worst of 148 surveyed, with Cambridgeshire the fifth worst and NHS Norfolk ninth from bottom, raising concerns that local people are missing out on good-quality health services.

Three East Anglian health authorities are among the worst 10 in the country, according to a new performance league table.

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney is the second worst of 148 surveyed, with Cambridgeshire the fifth worst and NHS Norfolk ninth from bottom, raising concerns that local people are missing out on good-quality health services.

Last month it was reported how Yarmouth and Waveney had been told it needs a “radical transformation”, while Norfolk needs to make up its mind whether it wants to make real health improvements or just tinker round the edges.

But both organisations say they are making big improvements.

The “name and shame” judgments were given in an outside review of the performance of local primary care trusts (PCTs), which commission and pay for almost all local health services, from doctors and dentists to operations and specialist care, which may then be provided by other organisations.

Although patient care may still be good at an individual level, the damning reports mean that the trusts are not working hard enough to improve health services for patients in their areas. They are not doing enough to make sure that the improvements they want to make in the health of local people, from smoking and obesity reduction to improving life expectancy, will actually happen.

Trade magazine Health Service Journal has compiled the table of all PCTs based on the scores in each report. There are no East Anglian PCTs anywhere in the top half of the table, with Suffolk the best performing locally, at 87.

Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP and Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: “[NHS Norfolk's] is a disappointing position in the league table. They inherited substantial problems, particularly financial, which have been a massive challenge for them, but my anxiety is that not enough progress is being made.”

Julie Garbutt, chief executive for NHS Norfolk, said: “This first assessment is a fair reflection on where we were in the latter half of last year in terms of our progress towards becoming world class. In some respects, it reflects the challenges faced by NHS Norfolk in terms of bringing five PCTs into one and resolving a £50m deficit.”

She said that the PCT had since overhauled its strategic plan, which was now “robust, ambitious and relevant to the needs of the people of Norfolk” and would improve the next assessment.

Mike Stonard, chief executive of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: “We have already instituted a robust review of the organisation's management arrangements to address areas of weakness in our governance processes.

“We will be a very different organisation going into the summer and that should be reflected in a significant improvement in the coming financial year.”

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