Well, if you weren’t gloomy enough about life in Croydon already, as shown by the Prime Minister’s “happiness index” published yesterday, today’s news about the standards of our country’s hospitals, and Mayday in particular, will really cheer you up. Not.
One in four NHS hospitals is a cause for concern over the quality or safety of the care it provides to patients,the government’s hospital watchdog reported today. And Croydon is right down there with the worst of them, rated a “Band 1”.
“Performance in some areas is so inadequate that it poses a risk or an elevated risk to patients,” was how the Care Quality Commission‘s national findings were reported today.
Our local hospital’s reputation has long seen it nicknamed “May-die”, and no amount of re-branding can shake that off now that the CQC has bracketed it with 43 other hospitals where there is serious concern about aspects of care provided.
This dire rating comes while local politicos are embroiled in horse-trading over whose borough’s hospital is to lose its accident and emergency department and maternity wards – Sutton or Croydon.
The MPs – Tom Brake, former health minister Paul Burstow and our very own Gavin Barwell – are all colleagues in the ConDem government that is meanwhile also privatising our NHS piece by piece. Barwell is arguing that Croydon should be spared any department cuts at the expense of St Helier, which is in Brake and Burstow’s Sutton.
Any rational person who is familiar with the medical needs of this part of south London would want both hospitals to continue to provide a full range of services, especially A&E, but our ConDem MPs have found themselves in an NHS version of Sophie’s Choice.
The really bad news for Band 1-rated Mayday is that, as far as the CQC is concerned, St Helier is rated a top-of-the-class Band 6.
The CQC examined 150 national, NHS-wide measures of quality and safety of care in a new assessment system it calls “intelligent monitoring”. It then put all 161 hospital trusts into one of six bands, each of which includes those deemed a higher or lower risk, on the basis of the evidence.
Croydon is one of 24 trusts in Band 1 and 20 in Band 2, which are the only two categories the CQC is concerned about. The 24 include the 11 trusts already in special measures, those that are already being investigated by the CQC inspection regime it has developed after the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.
The criteria the CQC looked at included waiting times for treatment in A&E, after referral by a GP and for cancer; patients’ trust in the doctors and nurses; rates of hospital-acquired infections and stroke patients scanned within an hour of arrival; patient safety incidents and “never” events (incidents such as amputating the wrong limb that should never happen); management of patients’ pain; and how much help was provided to someone to help them eat their meal.
Taking trusts’ scores in those 150 areas, CQC has categorised Band 1 as including those at which performance is 7.5 per cent below the norm. At the trusts in Band 6, such as St Helier where Gavin Barwell would like to see its A&E unit closed, performance is typically 2 per cent better than the norm.
The Patients Association said the CQC’s concerns about the 44 trusts were hugely worrying but also “not a major surprise”. Katherine Murphy, the Patients’ Association chief executive, said, “We know from our work that elements of poor care are widespread in the NHS.” Murphy is an ex-NHS nurse and manager
“We don’t think there’s any hospital that’s providing 100 per cent high-quality, safe care. Calls to our helpline tell us that things like misdiagnosis, cancelled operations and poor care in hospital, especially elderly patients not being cared for with the compassion and dignity they deserve, happen frequently in hospitals all over the country. This problem is so endemic in the NHS,” she said.
As a Band 1 hospital, Croydon has been prioritised for inspection by the CQC.
- DAVID CALLAM: Mayday Hospital’s care record warrants closer inspections
- Croydon hospital on CQC’s staffing danger list
- STEVE REED MP: Mayday signals another failure of local Tories
Coming to Croydon
- Lakes Playground group’s fundraising Zumba-ween: Oct 26
- PJ’s enterprising look at Black History Month: Oct 29
- The Railway Children: Oct 30-Nov 2
- St Giles School open morning: Nov 13
- Secret Love at the Ashcroft Theatre: Nov 14
- Future Tech City: Nov 30
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Poor care risk ‘at 1 in 4 hospitals’ (bbc.co.uk)