Chief executive’s disappointment over Norfolk hospital’s monitoring report

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

The chief executive of a Norfolk hospital spoke of her disappointment following the publication of a new hospital performance report by a health regulator.

The new intelligent monitoring reports by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveal the performance of 161 acute hospitals across the country using 150 indicators and have ranked trusts between one and six, with those at most risk with the lowest score.

Norfolk's biggest hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), was placed in band three by the regulator after three 'elevated risks' were identified on ambulance handover delays of more than 60 minutes, whistleblowing alerts, and in-hospital mortality on patients with kidney conditions.

Anna Dugdale, chief executive, said she expected the trust's score to improve because some of the indicators used data that was now out of date.

'Our categorisation in Band 3 is disappointing and we do not believe it is reflective of the quality of care our patients can expect from the NNUH. We are puzzled by the inclusion of the elevated risk for chronic renal failure mortality as the CQC have previously accepted that this is not a mortality issue, but actually a recording issue in connection with method of admission.'

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'Our staff have worked very closely with the ambulance teams bringing patients to our accident and emergency department to reduce all handover delays and significant improvement has been achieved in those patients delayed over 60 minutes since April. The whistleblowing metric has come as a surprise we are currently requesting further information as we are not aware of any whistleblowing issues,' she said.

The CQC said it would be using the scores to give its inspectors a clear indication of where and what areas of patient care needed to be examined in their round of regular inspections.

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The James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston and West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds were both ranked better that the NNUH and were placed in band four by the CQC.

Elevated risks were raised on the JPH's referral to treatment times under 18 weeks and whistleblowing alerts, according to the CQC reports.

Christine Allen, chief executive of the hospital said: 'Overall, the report provides a useful overview for the trust. Band 4 places the hospital in the lower risk categories and the mortality data is an indication of expected clinical outcomes at the James Paget. The report is important as it forms part of the data we use to benchmark the quality and efficiency of the care we provide. We are pleased to see that we do well in most areas, but we continue to focus on areas requiring further improvement.'

The only elevated risks identified at the West Suffolk Hospital were on whistleblowing and data quality of trust returns to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

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