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What are our priorities and how are we doing?

Annual Report

The Trust’s Annual Report and Accounts cover the financial year period of April to March. It details how the Trust has performed over the last 12 months in regard to reviewing our targets and achievements.

Annual business plan, targets, aims & objectives and past performance.

The West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust Annual Plan is submitted to the NHS East of England by 31st March each year, in line with their planning timetable. Our plan provides a high level overview of our expected performance for the coming year referenced to our four main annual objectives. Moving forward, our annual objectives will provide the framework for our operational planning process. 

Strategic Direction - Corporate Objectives

Clinical Governance

Clinical Governance places the patient’s experience - of care, service, clinical outcome and environment - at its heart. It involves and affects all the staff and is the key to excellence in practice and service delivery for all health care. The concept of Clinical Governance is not new. 'Putting Patients First' was a previous initiative, and consideration for patients is still at the heart of our improvement programme.

At West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust we are aiming to provide the best possible care by offering high quality services that are sensitive to patients, relatives and carers, regardless of which hospital they attend whether it is Hemel Hempstead, St Albans City, or Watford General. 

The most widely used definition of Governance is:

“ A framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continually improving the quality of services and safeguarding high standards of care whilst creating an environment in which clinical excellence will flourish” 

Governance is everyone’s responsibility and it promotes a quality framework that:

  • Meets the needs of patients, carers and clients.
  • Ensures effective & robust systems to improve quality.
  • Clarifies and make transparent the accountability for the delivery of the highest standards of patient care.
  • Supports an environment that minimises risks.
  • Learns from mistakes and consequently changes practice or process.
  • Promotes life-long learning.
Healthcare - Annual check

The framework is one of the main contributing sources for the external performance rating system for acute trusts in England, which since 2005/06 has been the Annual Health Check, which was administered by the Healthcare Commission.

From April 2009 the Care Quality Commission took over the work of the Healthcare Commission, the Mental Health Act Commission, and the Commission for Social Care Inspection. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent inspection body for both the NHS and independent healthcare.

The annual health check is the most important of the Care Quality Commission activities to drive improvements in healthcare for patients. It involves assessing and rating the performance of each NHS trust in England, during the financial year from 1 April to 31 March. When doing so, they look at a wide range of areas, from the overall quality of care - including safety of patients, cleanliness and waiting times - to how well trusts manage their finances.

When assessing a Trust's quality of care in the annual health check, the CQC look at how well it is complying with the Standards for Better Health. The core standards cover the following seven areas:

Patient safety
  • Clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness
  • Governance 
  • Patient focus
  • Accessible and responsive care 
  • The care environment and amenities
  • Public health

Audit reports

Service User Surveys

The National Inpatient Survey is carried out each year, as a requirement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for all NHS Acute Trusts in England. The purpose of the survey is to understand what patients think of healthcare services, provided by the particular participating Trust.

All Trusts used a standard survey methodology and questions. The survey is based on a random sample of patients discharged during a particular period in time who were inpatients. The survey is undertaken by a postal questionnaire, sent to patients' home addresses.

The survey questionnaire has been developed through consultation with patients, clinicians and Trusts. It is based upon what is most important from the patients' perspective.

Visit the CQC website for further details.

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