The variation charts in the Estates and Facilities compartment are configured to show red or green shading depending on how the trust is performing against trusts of the same type, rather than the national median.
There are five types of trust for Estates and Facilities, each with a unique benchmark level. They are:
- small acute trusts
- medium acute trusts
- large acute trusts
- multi-specialty acute trusts
- acute teaching trusts
Because we are comparing with trusts of the same type rather than the national median, it means the red and green bars can sometimes appear to "blend". Some trusts may show as green despite being a higher value than a trust showing as red, such as in this example:
Others may show as green despite achieving a lower score than a trust rated as red, such as in this example:
This occurs because each trust is being compared against a trust type benchmark which may be different to that of those trusts that surround it.
We have chosen to benchmark in this way, within types of trust rather than nationally, because each type of trust has a slightly different requirement of their estate.
For example, a teaching trust has to dedicate a portion of its estate to education facilities, so it would be unfair to make a direct comparison between their use of non-clinical space and that of a small acute trust, which would not have this need.
This approach was recommended by Lord Carter in his review into unwarranted variation in English acute hospitals.