THE trust which runs Andover and Winchester hospitals has won a healthcare rating from ‘fair’ to ‘good’ in the Healthcare Commission results – but its financial rating has dropped to ‘weak’.

Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages Andover War Memorial Hospital and the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, has had an independent stamp of approval for healthcare improvements made during 2007/08.

The ratings cover four categories – weak, fair, good and excellent. This year’s results reflect a renewed focus on patient care – the rating has moved to ‘good’ from ‘fair’ previously.

The rating for use of resources, which refers to financial management, is ‘weak’. It was previously ‘fair’ in 2006/07 and ‘weak’ in 2005/06.

Trust medical director Dr Kevin Stewart, said: “Patient care has shot up the agenda over the last few years and is now back where it belongs – at the top.”

Commenting on the rating of ‘weak’ for use of resources, Dr Stewart said: “The rating refers to our financial planning in 2007/08, not our financial position.

“It is worth remembering that the trust has broken even and delivered a surplus in the last two years. However, if we were audited today then our rating would be better.”

Hampshire PCT has received ‘good’ for its use of resources and ‘fair’ for quality of services.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has been rated as ‘good’ for the quality of its services and ‘excellent’ for use of resources. Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust has achieved the highest possible ratings of excellent for ‘quality of services’ and excellent for ‘use of resources’.

z THE Norovirus outbreak at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester has been brought under control.

The hospital remains in a heightened state of vigilance and is still taking any symptoms shown by staff or patients extremely seriously.

A spokeswoman said: "Visitors are reminded they should only come in if they are free from infections, and have no symptoms themselves. Wherever possible they should not bring children and should always be absolutely scrupulous in their hand hygiene.

"It would also help us in our cleaning if bedside areas are kept free of unnecessary gifts and items from home.”