What is a hospital?
A hospital is an institution offering the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. It will usually have facilities for inpatients.
Hospitals can offer a wide range of services (a general hospital) or be specialised. The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, for example, specialises in cancer treatment and research while Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, specialises in the heart and lungs.
Most general hospitals will offer accident and emergency (A&E), maternity, surgery, care for the elderly and outpatient services.
Hospitals in England generally fall into one of two categories: those run by the NHS and those that are independent, for example those run by private companies or charities.
Types of hospital
- provide their services free at point of delivery
- generally have links with the local community
- usually come under the local health trust.
- often charge for the services they provide
- may be run by private companies or charities.
Our new approach to inspecting hospitals
Last year we set out plans for a new approach to regulating, inspecting and monitoring hospitals. You can read about our new approach in detail in our provider handbooks.
Our latest findings
State of Care is our annual, in-depth report on health and social care in England.
- By the end of August 2014, we'd inspected 62 NHS acute trusts using our new approach (of which we had published formal ratings for 38 trusts by the end of August).
- In September 2014, we awarded the first outstanding rating to an NHS hospital: Frimley Park in Surrey.
- Safety was the biggest concern: four out of every five safety ratings were inadequate or requires improvement.
- These early inspections tended to target higher risk trusts. Of the 38 acute trusts against which we published ratings, nine were rated good, 24 required improvement and five inadequate.
Hospital intelligent monitoring
We monitor more than 150 different indicators to direct our inspection resources to where they are most needed.