Trust questions NHS openness league

St Helens Hospital
St Helens Hospital

Health chiefs in St Helens have challenged figures suggesting they are among the poorest performing trusts for openness.

St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust has said 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.

The trust has been ranked as 131st out of the total 230 trusts in the league which was launched by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) to encourage openness and transparency in the NHS.

A trust spokesman said: “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 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 was launched last week but has since drawn criticism from Rob Webster, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, who questioned how the data had been compiled.

He said: “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.

“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.”