Herts hospitals '˜not open or transparent'

West Herts Hospitals Trust is one of the least open and transparent trusts in the NHS, according to a new report.

Monday, 14th March 2016, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 14th March 2016, 12:04 pm
Hemel Hempstead Hospital ENGPNL00120130811124854

The first-ever ‘Learning from Mistakes’ league table measured 231 NHS trusts and foundation trusts across the country.

And West Herts Hospitals - which runs Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans City hospitals - was ranked 205th.

It was also given the worst-available grade of a ‘Poor reporting culture’.

Hospital bosses admit the rating was disappointing, but stressed that improvements were already being made.

A spokesman said: “The report was drawn up on the basis of the National Reporting and Learning System and last year’s NHS staff survey, and it is therefore no surprise that it reflects a position similar to that reported on by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following their inspection of our hospitals at around that time.

“Since then, the trust has identified and begun to address a huge programme of work, including a review of safety culture, in response to the issues raised by the CQC. Many of these actions relate to learning from mistakes.

“In total, we identified 221 actions we need to take. At the most recent update, 180 of the 221 were ‘Complete’, ‘Not Yet Due’ or ‘On Track’. Just three were reported as ‘Red’.”

They added: “In February of this year, we were the subject of a clinical review, a mock inspection along the lines of the CQC’s processes, led by the Trust Development Authority, and including patient representatives.

“This showed marked improvements in approach of staff to learning from incidents, with a stronger reporting culture embedded across a number of clinical areas.

“We are pleased by the feedback, and by our demonstrable progress, although we still have much work to do.

> There was better news for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT), which was ranked 48th and given the second-best available rating of ‘Good’.

HCT runs services such as care in people’s homes, community settings and in its community hospitals.

Clare Hawkins, HCT director of quality & governance and chief nurse, said: “I am delighted with this progress and that we have performed well in both Hertfordshire and nationally.

“Openness and transparency is something we strive for throughout our Trust.”

Mike Durkin, National patient safety director at NHS England, said: “Learning from mistakes saves lives. In order to properly learn from mistakes we need to create a culture with openness and transparency at its heart.

“We would like all providers to reflect on the data. We know that data cannot ever tell the whole story, and that is true even of data that is rooted in the insights of staff. But it can start a discussion, and, yes, a process of learning.”