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Vote of confidence in hospital care
PATIENTS at Worcestershire Royal Hospital receive some of the safest care in the country, a new review has found.
Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission has given the hospital a big vote of confidence after ranking Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust as one of those least at risk of letting patients down and delivering poor or unsafe care.
The regulator has reviewed reams of data including death rates, serious errors and patient surveys from all 161 of the country’s acute and specialist trusts.
More than 150 indicators have been examined in total and these have been used to divide the trusts into six ‘bands’ according to the level of risk they present.
Worcestershire Acute Trust, which also runs Redditch Alexandra and Kidderminster hospitals, has been placed in band six - the least risky group.
The news is a timely boost for the trust, which still faces uncertainty over its future as a £50 million cost-saving hospital review continues and was recently chosen to receive £1 million extra A&E funding due to concerns over its ability to cope during the busy winter period.
Delighted chairman Harry Turner said: “I am so pleased that the results of the Care Quality Commission’s monitoring reports puts us in the lowest risk category.
“This is testament to the hard work and determination of all of our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure quality and safety are at the top of the agenda when it comes to patient care.”
The review has been carried out as part of a new Ofsted-style hospital inspection regime being introduced as part of the NHS shake-up ordered after the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital scandal.
This will see inspectors go into every trust by 2015 and deliver ratings of either 'outstanding', 'good', 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate’.
The Care Quality Commission says the data - called intelligent monitoring - is not a final judgement on the quality of hospitals but will be used to prioritise which trusts are inspected earlier in the process.
Hospital chief inspector Prof Sir Mike Richards described the risk review as a “screening” process.
“Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing us where we need to focus our inspections,” he said.
More than a quarter of all trusts have been identified as high risk - with 44 in total placed into bands one and two.
Some trusts were flagged for incidents resulting in harm to patients while others scored low on staff or patient satisfaction.
Several came to attention due to whistleblowing staff while others had a higher than expected death rate among patients who should be low risk.
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Care Quality Commission board member and chief executive of the Health Foundation, said: “It makes sense to use the wealth of routinely available data in the NHS to try to spot patterns which might identify or predict poor-quality care for patients.
"The intelligent monitoring tool can never by itself be a crystal ball, but it is a great start and will surely develop over time.”