HEALTH CARE in the York and Selby area has been given the thumbs-up, according to a national survey.

Patients in the area said they had had "good" experience of local health care.

People in York, North Yorkshire, Ryedale and Harrogate were also "very satisfied" with their local GP services.

The results were unveiled in a community health index, published by the independent health research organisation Dr Foster for primary care trusts (PCTs) - the NHS bodies responsible for commissioning services from hospitals and other providers.

They show huge differences in patient satisfaction, quality of care and equality of access to treatment among the 300-plus NHS trusts surveyed.

Results for Selby and York PCT in the index were "good" for patient experience, but average for both clinical quality and equality of access.

Gary Hardman, director of nursing and workplace development for Selby and York PCT, said: "The results of this national survey are very pleasing.

"I am delighted that we are rated very highly for patient experience as, as an organisation, we work hard to ensure we listen to the views of our patients, their families and carers. This is a tribute to the ongoing hard work of all of our staff.

"However, we are not complacent and we will continue to work hard on improving all aspects of the health care services we provide."

Craven, Harrogate and rural district PCT is the only NHS trust to receive "good" results for patient experience, clinical quality and equality of access to care.

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale was rated "good" for patient experience and equality of access, and "average" for clinical quality.

Hambleton and Richmondshire PCT scored highly in two out of the three ratings, coming out particularly well in patient experience.

It also scored high for clinical quality, and achieved a satisfactory rating for equity of access.

Paddy Pearce, head of healthcare governance at the PCT, said: "The statistics produced by Dr Foster are taken from a variety of sources, including Department of Health and the Healthcare Commission. While the survey only covers a limited number of indicators, it is very pleasing to see that our ratings are among the best in the country."

Chief executive Simon Kirk said: "We are very pleased with these results. This is very good news for our patients and a tribute to the hard work of all NHS staff in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area."

Dr Foster provides information about the quality and availability of health services. Founded in 2000, it is a collaboration of healthcare professionals, academics and journalists, and is the leading independent authority on healthcare performance.

Updated: 10:31 Tuesday, June 21, 2005