Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

'Underperforming' hospital trusts give their view

Twelve NHS hospital trusts in England are "significantly underperforming", according to a report by monitoring body Dr Foster.

The responses of the trusts are outlined below.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Trust chairman Michael Large said: "I want to reassure our local community that the safety and well-being of our patients is our highest priority.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with advisors to specifically focus on the areas where we need to make rapid changes.

"The Trust has a clear strategy for improving patient safety and sets ambitious improvement targets, reporting performance measures monthly."

He added that consultants are now working longer days to cover weekends and evenings and that the hospital has hired more nurses.

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre NHS Trust

Chief Executive Aiden Kehoe said: "We are very angry and upset about this report because we don't believe that it gives an accurate picture, a comprehensive picture, of what is happening in terms of patient safety and quality.

"It in no way represents the good work that is going on around these issues within this trust. The Dr Foster report looks at a selective number of measures. But what it doesn't look at is whether you have actually reduced infections within the hospital.

"In this hospital we have slashed MRSA infections by 80% [and] our C.dif infections are down by 25% because of the good work that we are doing.

"I can reassure the patients here that there is tremendous work going on in terms of patient safety and quality at the trust."

Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust

Chief executive Martin Woodford said: "As a trust Hereford hospital is responding pro-actively to the findings of the Dr Foster report.

"Patient safety is our highest priority."

Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust

A statement from the trust said it "consistently has one of the lowest hospital acquired infection rates".

"We are surprised and disappointed at this scoring from Dr Foster, especially as we were rated in the Top 40 Hospitals by CHKS (independent provider of healthcare intelligence and quality improvement services) earlier this year.

"We fully support the open sharing of information and all patient safety initiatives. However, we feel that the methodology used to calculate this patient safety score is unclear and very difficult for the public to understand."

Out of the 34 indicators, 31 were within the expected range, two were better than expected and only one was worse than expected.

This related to the administration of the reporting of safety incidents to a national body and has no impact on patient safety at this hospital.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said the indicators Dr Foster used to score trusts with were "extremely confusing".

"Of the 13 areas on patient safety that they have used, our results are within the expected range for 10, better on one and worse on two," said chief executive Julia Squire.

Ms Squire added that the two were for retrospective and revised mortality rates for 2008/09 and that their current position is better than average.

She added: "People can be confident about the care we offer and our focus on patient safety. I am very happy for my family to be cared for at our hospitals and I can recommend our services to local people."

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust

A spokesperson for the health care trust said it was an "improving hospital".

"No single measure can capture the complexity of what hospitals do and we certainly do not fully understand this Dr Foster data - it does not reflect the work which is being done by staff this year at the Trust."

South London Healthcare NHS Trust

A trust spokesperson said they were "carefully" looking at the report.

"We must though point out that it covers data from a time period which pre-dates the establishment of South London Healthcare.

"South London Healthcare was formed last April from the merger of three hospitals, and from this time, we have placed our highest priority on improving patient safety.

"In eight months, we have reduced our infection rates, and [improved] our survival rates so that in both areas, we are performing above the national average."

The statement added the area they trust needed to improve was the quality of data reporting.

St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust

Medical Director Dr Mike Lynch said he wanted to defend the trust's "record on safety".

He said: "I am particularly concerned about the impact this publication might have on our vulnerable patients and also our staff.

"We report frequently and regularly to the NPSA [National Patient Safety Agency] and they recognise that we are among the top performing hospitals around safety in the country."

Dr Lynch said the Care Quality Commission rated the trust as "excellent for the quality of care" for two consecutive years and a "raft of data that relates to safety and the patient experience" used to formulate those ratings had been "entirely disregarded".

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

In a statement, the trust said it "continues to make improvements".

It said performance figures to be published on Monday will show that the hospital "continues to do well" in 11 out of 13 performance indicators, although its HSMR remains high.

"Although the mortality rate for patients coming into hospital for planned operations or procedures is very good, the Trust's overall mortality rate remains high.

"This continues to be a challenge and although seeing some progress, the Trust is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to address this."

The statement added that the trust was working with an external expert to "better understand and address the issues".

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW )NHS Trust

The trust said it had a number of independent evidence-based ratings highlighting its "focus and innovation" in delivering excellent patient care.

It said that in November, the Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced check which found it was fully compliant in 15 separate measures. The statement added that mortality rates at the trust have decreased three years in a row.

"Contrary to all of this, the forthcoming Dr Foster report, which rates us as a level 1, fails to recognise the in-depth level of inspection and quality of care achieved at the Trust."

"We would like to reassure our patients and public that UHCW prioritises patient safety at all times and the Dr Foster rating does not accurately reflect this, as evidenced by a number of in-depth, onsite, independent reviews."

University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM)NHS Foundation Trust

The trust said it had reacted with "shock and disbelief at this grossly misleading assessment of patient safety at UHSM".

"In their last report, Dr. Foster rated UHSM in the top ten safest hospitals in the country, based on low mortality rates.

"Mortality rates at UHSM are even lower this year, yet the same hospital is now being catapulted to the bottom of the National league table."

Chief executive Julian Hartley said: "The picture being painted of UHSM would not be recognised by patients, staff or the local community."

Weston Area Health NHS Trust

A statement from the trust said it had "nationally recognised indicators" which show it is delivering safe care and that the mortality rate is well within the national average.

"The Trust answered Dr Foster's questionnaire honestly and in good faith and was alerted by Dr Foster that its score had been lowered by the responses to the questions on National Patient Safety Agency alerts.

"We can confirm that we are now fully compliant in this area and that the query was never about our delivery of care, but about whether we had a policy or procedure in place, for example."

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