Prime Minister visits hospital in Derby

David Cameron meeting staff at the Royal Derby hospital Photo: ITV Central

The Prime Minister has visited a hospital in Derby where he announced the wider use of patient satisfaction surveys to improve standards of care. It comes after high-profile cases of patient neglect at two other hospitals in the Midlands.

Mr Cameron today met patients and staff at the Royal Derby Hospital which prides itself on its high standards of nursing care. The hospital is piloting one of the PM's key proposals - the "friends and family" test - in which patients are asked whether they would recommend an NHS service to a loved one. Nurses also carry out "hourly rounding", checking on patients every hour to ensure they are comfortable and having their basic needs met.

David Cameron talking to patient Cheryl Burns from Ilkeston Credit: ITV Central

Other new measures will include better training for healthcare assistants, promoting better understanding of dementia (a condition affecting 1 in 4 people in hospital), and giving newly-trained nurses and midwives the opportunity to become "care makers", an ambassadorial role similar to the Games Makers of the London 2012 Games.

The Government says raising care standards is a key priority for 2013 following cases of appalling treatment of patients at two Midlands hospitals. An investigation uncovered hundreds of "excess deaths" during a three-year period at Stafford Hospital - a report into the scandal is due very soon. Last month, bosses at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Worcestershire, apologised to 38 families for unacceptable standards of care including one case in which a patient died from starvation.

Labour has criticised Mr Cameron's announcement, saying hospitals are under huge pressure because of NHS spending cuts which have seen 6000 nursing posts disappear since 2010.