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PM targets patient care improvement

David Cameron has visited NHS hospitals 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."

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