The latest inspections in Northern Devon give 'excellent' ratings across the board at five hospitals for cleanliness, the general standard of the environment for patients, and levels of privacy and dignity. Standards of hospital food were only slightly b

The latest inspections in Northern Devon give 'excellent' ratings across the board at five hospitals for cleanliness, the general standard of the environment for patients, and levels of privacy and dignity.Standards of hospital food were only slightly behind, with four 'excellent' ratings and one 'good'..The results were published today (Thursday) by the National Patient Safety Agency as part of an initiative known as the Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT).PEAT teams visited five hospitals run by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust - North Devon District Hospital and community hospitals at Holsworthy, Bideford, Torrington and South Molton.The Tyrrell Hospital at Ilfracombe was not inspected because it has fewer than 10 beds.On cleanliness, the teams looked at issues such as the availability of washbasins and alcohol hand-rub, and whether patients asked staff to clean their hands.Other issues on the checklists ranged from ward decor and signage to the quality, quantity and temperature of food."Excellent" ratings were awarded for every category, except for food at South Molton Hospital, which was judged to be "good."Carolyn Mills, the Trust's Director of Nursing, said: "We carry out all sorts of checks on technical issues, like having policies in place for controlling infection, but the PEAT scores are different because they try to take the patient's perspective."The team picks up on the basics that can have a huge impact on patients and visitors. You might have the best treatment in the world, but if the meals were inedible and the floors were dirty you wouldn't go home happy - and rightly so."This is down to a real joint effort between our own staff and the Sodexo team, to make sure patients are cared for in the best-possible hospitals.