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Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment

Isometric graphic of a hospital room, with the NHS logo

Mildmay recently undertook a PLACE inspection. The inspection went well and was a helpful exercise as we continue to develop our services.

PLACE stands for Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment. A team of patients, volunteers and staff from a range of departments participated. Thanks to them for their time and valuable contributions - it was very much appreciated. Thanks also to the staff who worked so hard to prepare for this inspection - especially the catering team, our Dietitian, Kattya, Estates and Facilities and the Nursing Team.


Good environments matter. Every NHS patient should be cared for with compassion and dignity in a clean, safe environment. Where standards fall short, they should be able to draw it to the attention of managers and hold the service to account. PLACE assessments provide motivation for improvement by providing a clear message, directly from patients, about how the environment or services might be enhanced.

PLACE assessments see local people visit inpatient units across England to assess how the environment supports patients' privacy and dignity, the food, cleanliness and general building maintenance. It focuses entirely on the care environment providing a clear message, directly from patients, about how well the environment works and how it might be enhanced.

The assessments take place every year, and results are published to help drive improvements in the care environment. The results show how hospitals are performing both nationally and in relation to other hospitals providing similar services.

Note that PLACE assessments focus exclusively on the environment in which care is delivered and do not cover clinical care provision or how well staff are doing their job.


April 2013 saw the introduction of PLACE, which is the system for assessing the quality of the patient environment, replacing the old Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) inspections. The assessments primarily apply to hospitals and hospices providing NHS-funded care in both the NHS and private/independent sectors, but others are also encouraged and helped to participate in the programme.

The PLACE collection underwent a national review, which started in 2018 and concluded in the summer of 2019. The question set has been significantly refined and revised, and guidance documents have been updated. The review ensures that the collection remains relevant and delivers its aims. As the changes have been extensive, it is important to note that the results of the 2019 assessments onwards aren’t comparable to earlier collections.

November 2022 inspection summary

Ward Areas

  • Cleanliness is really good and passed in all domains

  • The wards are generally well maintained - some painting is required in some areas

  • Alcohol gel is available and hand hygiene is promoted

  • Floors - clean and well maintained

  • Handrails are available only on one side in some ward areas, which is not ideal

  • Signage is dementia friendly

  • Curtains could be freshened up between patients. At present, there is a schedule for dry cleaning

  • Signage is dementia friendly – however, small in some areas

  • Fixtures and fittings are dementia friendly

  • We could benefit from adding artwork to the ward environments - but would need to be cautious from an infection prevention and control perspective

  • Privacy and dignity are well maintained - our single rooms really promote this

  • Confidentiality and data protection are promoted

  • Good access to TV, Wi-Fi and telephone


  • The meal service on both wards was inspected and both wards did really well

  • Excellent team working, coordination and collaboration between ward staff, catering staff and the dietician - the process is very efficient

  • Meals are well presented

  • A great choice for patients

  • We need to spend more time promoting meal-time hand hygiene for patients

  • The inspectors really enjoyed sampling the food as part of the inspection process - lots of compliments to the Chef!!

External Areas

  • The hospital building is well-maintained

  • Clean windows

  • The garden is well looked after

  • There are seating areas available for patients - although less space now due to the building work

Reception/Communal Area on Ground Floor

  • Clean and generally well maintained

  • Floors - clean and well maintained

  • Welcoming environment

  • Too many leaflets and too much clutter on the reception desk

  • We would benefit from a range of chairs in different sizes e.g., different heights, bariatric etc

  • Handrails on one side only - this could be hazardous for some patients

  • Some signage to be updated

  • We would benefit from more signage e.g., to the toilets

  • We could benefit from some more artwork on the walls

  • Toilets- very clean and well maintained

  • Lift - we need signs inside explaining that William Ward is on the first floor and Catherine Ward is on the second floor

2019 assessment result



Organisation food

Ward food

Privacy, dignity and wellbeing

Condition, appearance and maintenance













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