Star rating for mental health trust

Norfolk's mental health trust has been given a top rating for its services and finances and been congratulated as one of the highest performers in the country.

Norfolk's mental health trust has been given a top rating for its services and finances and been congratulated as one of the highest performers in the country.

Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust has now become one of the top 41 trusts in the UK after the ranking by the Care Quality Commission.

The annual health check rated all NHS trusts in the country on aspects of their performance, rating them either excellent, good, fair or poor.

The mental health trust achieved the highest possible accolade by being awarded 'excellent' in both categories - quality of financial management and quality of services. Last year the trust was awarded 'excellent' and 'good' respectively.

Chief executive Aidan Thomas, who joined the mental health trust on October 1, said: 'We are delighted with the CQC health check scores. It is excellent news for service users and partners, and recognises what our staff have achieved.

'I am new to the service but am not surprised because the trust has been working hard to bring quality and a patient focus to its services, and so has had consistently improved ratings over the last three years. We are proud to be among the best mental health services in the country.'

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The current ratings are based on performances between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, and have shown improvements in trusts across the region, with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital being awarded 'good' for use of resources and 'fair' for quality of services.

One of the most notable improve-ments was with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney which was rated as 'good' for quality of s� ervices and 'fair' for quality of financial management - significantly better than last year when it hit the bottom with a double weak score.

Also the East of England Ambulance Service received a 'fair' rating on both categories - which represents an improvement on last year's ratings in both areas of 'poor'.

The trust has recently come under fire for a number of issues, including a high number of directors leaving the trust and failing to meet health and safety standards.

Now chief executive Hayden Newton said although the health check represents an improvement, the ambulance trust is 'not complacent'.

He said: 'Our top priority is to provide an excellent service for patients, and we are always working to improve. I'm really pleased that these efforts have been recognised.

'First and foremost I'd like to thank all our staff across the service, because our score is a reflection of their hard work and dedication. Thanks to the sharp focus on clinical training and awareness among our staff, the standard of pre-hospital treatment for patients in the east of England is higher than ever before.

'We're also reaching patients faster than ever, and we are now one of the top-performing ambulance trusts in England.'

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston received 'good' for quality of services and an 'excellent' for management of finances - a slight drop on its double excellent last year.

He added that the trust was now in the process of recruiting a new executive team, which is expected to be in place by early 2010.

There are 40 trusts in the East of England and altogether 12 have improved their overall quality score, 14 have received the same overall quality score, and 14 have received a lower overall score.

No trusts in the region received weak ratings for either their quality of services or their financial management.