Teams' hospital tours give hard-pressed managers cause for irritation

The challenges posed by the noble art of raising and managing public expectation have rarely been more poignantly illustrated than by the work of the patient environment action teams.

One of the pre-election early-fruit measures in the NHS plan, PEATs are currently touring hospitals and rating them on factors such as cleanliness, car-parking provision and the state of their furniture, as well as the quality of their food and sign-posting.

All very laudable. Except that some of these are more susceptible to quick improvement than others. Managers have felt aggrieved to be penalised essentially because of the limitations of 19th century buildings.