'Good' hospitals failing safety standards

A dozen hospitals are "significantly underperforming" basic safety measures despite nine of them being rated good or excellent by the official health regulator, a report said today, sparking a fierce argument over the accuracy of inspection regimes.

The latest Hospital Guide from the Dr Foster organisation also identified 27 trusts with unusually high mortality rates - totalling 5,000 more deaths than expected.

Of the 12 worst performing trusts in the new league table, nine were recently judged by the Care Quality Commission watchdog to be good or excellent.

Among those rated good was Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which last week had a task force ordered in to sort out a series of failings.

Monitor, the body which regulates foundation trusts, stepped in after a report slammed poor hygiene and standards of care and a death rate around a third higher than the national average.

The Conservatives today called for a "massive overhaul" of the inspection regime, saying the data highlighted an "extraordinary contrast" between the Dr Foster and "box ticking" official assessments.

Shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said: "Clearly there needs to be a massive overhaul in the way that the inspection regime is working.

"The failed system of self assessment can't carry on and we need to rip up the performance indicators - above all stop the tick-box targets."

The head of the Care Quality Commission, Baroness Young, said some of the part NHS, part private Dr Foster data was "very legitimate" while some was "quite alarmist".

"Where they are good we will take them to account in our regulatory work and where they are flaky, we won't," she said. "We do a comprehensive programme of monitoring, on a much more detailed level."

Baroness Young has said she does not believe any other trusts are performing badly enough to merit another task force-style response seen in Basildon.

The other 11 trusts ranked lowest by Dr Foster were University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire; Weston Area Health Trust; South London Healthcare Trust; Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust; University Hospital of South Manchester and St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust; Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust; Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals Foundation Trust; and Hereford Hospitals Trust are also among the 12, which are completed by Basildon and Thurrock; Lewisham; and Scarborough and North East Yorkshire.

Of these, St Helens and Knowsley was rated excellent by the CQC and three others - Mid Yorkshire, Weston and Scarborough and North East Yorkshire - were rated fair. The remainder achieved good ratings.

The Dr Foster research also uncovered widespread safety issues including 39% of trusts "failing to investigate unexpected deaths or cases of serious harm on their wards".

Items such as swabs and drill bits were left inside patients after surgery in at least 209 cases and surgeons operated on the wrong part of a body at least 82 times.

A total of 478 operations were also cancelled in 2008/09 because patient notes were missing.

And 848 of 5,024 people who died after being admitted for "low-risk" conditions were under 65.

Roger Taylor, the director of Dr Foster, defended his guide and said more information about trusts should be made public.

He said: "No hospital in the world would claim to be free of these kinds of errors.

"But what has been learned over the years is that recording what is happening, and making that information generally public, is the best way to start tackling the issues."

The day after the failures at Basildon emerged last week, the chairman of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust was removed following concerns about high death rates, leadership and waiting times.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham ordered an urgent review by regulators to find out whether any other trusts required "immediate investigation".

The CQC said it was monitoring a small number of hospitals, but had "no evidence that there is another trust in England where we would take action of the kind we have taken at Basildon".

A Department for Health spokesman said: "Patient safety is absolutely paramount and it must be the highest priority for everyone in the NHS."

He went on: "The CQC will keep the situation under close review and to report back to the Health Secretary with any further concerns.

"We have made real improvements in recent years and England is recognised as one of the world leaders in the international drive to improve the safety of healthcare.

"The vast majority of patients experience high quality, safe and effective care and the CQC's recent survey showed that 93% of patients rate their overall care as good or excellent."

It was discovered earlier this year that between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period at Stafford Hospital from 2005 to 2008.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement