HUDDERSFIELD’S ambulance trust is improving, according to new health ratings out today.
But NHS Kirklees – the town’s main healthcare provider – has a long way to go, says an independent watchdog.
The Audit Commission assessed standards across all NHS trusts in the country.
Two thirds have improved their financial performance in 2008/9 from the previous year.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service trust went from a level two in 2007/8 to a level three in 2008/9.
Simon Worthington, Finance Director at the ambulance trust, said: “This achievement is a reflection of the hard work and demonstrates the significant improvements in our financial processes and our ability to provide value for money.”
Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – which manages Dewsbury and District Hospital – was also celebrating an improvement in its finances for the third year running, taking it from a level two to a level three.
Primary care trusts – including NHS Kirklees – were scored on their use of resources. Level four was the best and level one was the worst.
The trust – which provides primary health care, commissions hospital services and organises community services such as district nursing – was graded at level three for managing its finances.
But the PCT was rated at just level two for governing the business and for managing its resources including its workforce and delivering value for money.
Chief executive Mike Potts said: “The assessment process for 2008/09 has been more demanding than in previous years and by achieving this score it shows that we have performed well in managing our finances and that we deliver value for money from the resources and finances available to commission and deliver services for the population of Kirklees.
“This builds on improvements made in recent years and enables NHS Kirklees to continue to improve both the quality and value for money of services available to the local population in the future.”
The Audit Commission report did not include Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. The hospital is assessed by watchdog Monitor because of its foundation status.
Andy McKeon, Audit Commission managing director of health, said: “There have been significant improvements across Yorkshire and the Humber and the hard-working achievements of Barnsley and Sheffield PCTs stand out.
“Most of the region’s NHS trusts are improving, but a handful of hospitals in England must act urgently to reach minimum standards in the way they budget and spend.
“The overall financial picture for the NHS in England shows a year-on-year improvement, but these are financially uncertain times and with an expected budgetary squeeze on the horizon it’s reassuring that most NHS trusts and PCTs are managing their money well.
“Our report also shows that there is room for improvement, particularly if future pressures to maintain quality of service and improve productivity are to be met.”
The report highlighted how NHS trusts were getting better at managing their budgets but criticised their ability to future plan and use buildings or equipment to their full potential.
ORAL HEALTH: NHS Kirklees has continued to invest in the oral health of its population by increasing access to dental care, especially for disadvantaged groups or those who don’t attend a dentist regularly.
More than half of adults and three quarters of children in Kirklees saw a dentist in the last two years – higher than the national average.
Officials are continuing with oral health improvement and preventative activities to tackle poor oral health in children.
OBESITY: The National Child Measurement Programme shows that one in 10 reception children and one in six Year 6 children are obese.
The MEND exercise course is now available to children aged seven to 13 in Kirklees to encourage families to change unhealthy attitudes to food.
Alongside the obesity programme, the Kirklees food programme enables residents to improve healthy eating. More than 430 businesses have achieved the Healthy Choice Award, while 94% of schools are in the Healthy Schools Programme.
SEXUAL HEALTH: A key priority is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies across Kirklees.
A contraception service has been developed which young people can access through GPs and access increased to contraception.
Over 8,000 young people have been screened through the Chlamydia Screening Programme, a figure which is expected to continue to rise next year.