How Sick is the NHS in the South West?

Local medical negligence solicitor, Mike Clarke, looks at the latest official statistics and gives his prognosis on the health of the NHS in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset

The Care Quality Commission (or CQC), the NHS watchdog, has provided an in-depth analysis of the performance of all 161 acute hospital trusts in England.

The findings are a worrying confirmation of what many people have suspected for a long time …

The report reveals that a huge number of NHS hospitals are in serious trouble. The CQC has expressed worries about aspects of care at no less than 44 hospital- over a quarter.  It has stated that performance in some areas is so lamentable that it poses a risk to patients.

The survey examined basic areas of care, including:-

  • A&E waiting times;
  • patients' trust in the doctors and nurses;
  • hospital-acquired infection rates;
  • assessment of stroke patients;
  • patient safety and "never" events;
  • managing patients' pain;
  • dignity for patients;
  • waiting times for cancer investigation;

150 indicators of “quality” were used with the trusts being placed into one of 6 bands; with 1 being the most worrying and 6 the least. 24 trusts are in band 1; and 20 in band 2. It is these 44 trusts that the CQC is most concerned about.

The CQC bands mean this:-

Band 1:   performance is 7.5% below the norm.

Band 2:  5.5% below the norm

Band 3:  4.5% below (31 trusts)

Band 4: 3.5% below (25 trusts)

Ban 5:  2.5% below (24 trusts).

Band 6:  performance typically 2% above the norm.

From the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset perspective, the main trusts rate as follows:-

North Devon District  – Band 5

Royal Devon and Exeter –Band 4

Taunton & Somerset – Band 5

Bristol University – Band 6

Royal Cornwall – Band 5

Weston – Band 2

South Devon – Band 6

Of course, a placing in a 5 or 6 band does not mean nothing is likely to go wrong in hospitals under those trusts; equally, a band 1 or 2 rating does not mean the hospitals there are necessarily going to lead to more medical negligence claims.  But what these bands do show is that although in the West Country, we may be more fortunate than other areas of the nation, the NHS acute system as a whole is under severe strain.

For free initial legal advice from a local medical negligence solicitor with experience of dealing with claims against local health providers throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset call us now on freephone 0808 139 1594

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