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Trust marked down for its poor patient safety record

PUBLISHED: 13:01 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 25 August 2010

A HOSPITAL Trust has come under fire after achieving the joint fifth lowest score in the country for patient safety. South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT), which was formed eight months ago from three trusts - the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farn

A HOSPITAL Trust has come under fire after achieving the joint fifth lowest score in the country for patient safety.

South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT), which was formed eight months ago from three trusts - the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough, Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich - was given just 4.79 out of a possible 100 in the Dr Foster How Safe Is My Hospital? report, published last Sunday.

Amongst other complaints, SLHT couldn't provide figures for

incidents when 'foreign objects' are left behind in people's bodies after surgery or where patients receive an operation on the wrong part of the body despite claiming to have systems in place to do so. It was also unable to provide figures for the number of operations cancelled at its hospitals.

Orpington MP John Horam said:"I saw George Jenkins, the chairman of the Trust, last Friday and we discussed these issues at length. I particularly raised with him the fact that 68 incidences of bed sores were recorded in the last period, an indication of poor nursing, and that there were still concerns about the maternity care.

"He acknowledged the bed sores problem and said that this was being addressed with new procedures. Maternity care has suffered from the lack of midwives and doctors trained in obstetrics, a problem throughout London hospitals."

Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative Parliamentary Candidate James Brokenshire called for hospital managers to conduct an urgent review of patient safety standards and to halt re-organisation plans.

He said: "The Dr Foster guide paints a deeply worrying picture on the standards, systems and governance in operation within the Trust. Patients will want urgent reassurance in the light of this report as to the quality of care provided at local hospitals and the trust board needs to take a long hard look at these criticisms rather than sweeping them under the carpet.

"Against this backdrop I find it virtually inconceivable that the trust should press ahead with implementing its hospital reorganisation plans which seem certain to put even greater strain on the local health service."

A spokesperson for SLHT said: "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 report does show a good performance in the patient experience and clinical effectiveness categories and these are areas where we remain extremely focused.

"The area marked out where we need to improve is for the quality of our data reporting. We accept that this was a function which needed much work. Since the creation of the new Trust we have improved our recording of clinical work by implementing new processes and investing new resources. This includes working to achieve better data reporting at ward level.

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