WHISTON and St Helens hospitals have been ranked as providing the “best care environments” in the country, according to patients.

The St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust topped the charts as the leading NHS trust in England in the national patient-led assessments of the Care Environment programme (Place).

The studies inspect and score all acute and specialist organisations throughout England and are carried out with the involvement of patients, patient representatives and the public.

Local people go into hospitals as part of teams to assess how the environment supports patient’s privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness and general building maintenance.

The checks focus entirely on the care environment, not clinical care or how well staff are doing, adds NHS England.

Whiston and St Helens scored 99.99 per cent for cleanliness, 93.69 per cent for food, 98.04 per cent for patient privacy, dignity and wellbeing and 99.33 per cent for the condition and maintenance of the buildings.

Both hospitals, which employ more than 4,000 staff, have undergone major rebuilding programmes in recent years, to the cost of £338million.

Whiston, meanwhile, houses a specialist regional burns and plastic surgery unit that serves four million people.

Chief executive Ann Marr said: “It is fantastic news that the trust has been named the best in the country and that Whiston and St Helens hospitals achieved the highest score in the latest environment assessments.

“Our staff work very hard to maintain the highest standards and these results highlight our commitment to providing patients with excellent facilities and high quality care.”