St Helens Trust Questions Foundation Trust Ranking

St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust has been ranked as one of the poorer performing trusts in the NHS in terms of openness, but health bosses in the region refuse to accept this conclusion.

Health chiefs in the region suggest that the findings of the Learning from Mistakes League, which has rated the trust as one of 78 in the “significant concerns” category , are at odds with its recent CQC inspection.

A trust spokesman commented that the trust had been vindicated by more up-to-date information.

“The league table follows the publication of our CQC inspection results which recognised the trust as one of the best in the country. “Inspectors rated care at the trust outstanding and praised its strong safety culture, they said learning from incidents was widely shared across the Trust and staff recognised the importance of reporting incidents to ensure patient safety.”

The spokesman went on to emphasise the contradiction in information, and suggested that the authorities should update their data.

“The publication of the latest league table is at odds with those findings and we are pleased to hear the methodology for compiling the table is being questioned by NHS representatives. Patient safety remains our top priority.”

Monitor and the TDA said the league table was compiled using data for 2015/16 from the 2015 NHS staff survey and from the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS).

The league table has been launched just one week ago, yet has already drawn considerable criticism over the compilation of data.

Indeed, one of the chief critics has been Rob Webster, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, who has suggested that the document is fundamentally misleading.

“The NHS continues to make strides to becoming the most transparent and open healthcare system possible. The NHS Confederation has always welcomed the Secretary of State’s efforts achieve this outcome. But this continuing focus on transparency must be matched by a responsible approach to data with appropriate communications that allow for the right interpretation to be made. The creation of a league table and crude ratings fails both these tests.”

Webster pointed out that the league table could be more harmful than helpful unless its weaknesses are addressed.

“If the intention is to recognise that data can help begin a conversation that prompts reflection, learning and action, then there is a real risk that this approach will start the conversation in the wrong place. The consequence is that learning will be lost in the heat of the crude ratings rather than exposed in the light of new insight and curiosity.”

Monitor and the TDA will merge to form NHS Improvement in the coming months.


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