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‘A great experience during my colposcopy’ – inside the NHS’s new Accountability Hub

24 June 2014

6:23 PM

24 June 2014

6:23 PM

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants. Jeremy Hunt has taken up this mantra with the launch of the NHS’s Accountability Hub today. As well as offering information about your nearest GP or hospital, the NHS Choices website is now full of patient safety indicators which, according to the Department of Health, offer an ‘unprecedented amount of patient safety information to allow patients, regulators and staff to see safety performance across a range of indicators.’

All sounds like a good idea, so I had a poke around to see how much information was available on two hospitals I’ve had the pleasure of visiting — one in London, one in Gateshead. Out of the seven indicators, this is what NHS Choices had to say:

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As you can see, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is slightly understaffed, while Chelsea and Westminster is ‘among the worst’ for open and honest reporting and is rated poor for patient safety notices. Digging into the details for this hospital, I wasn’t able to find any more information — aside from ‘Helen’ five star review, commenting on her ‘great experience during my colposcopy and biopsy’. Looking through to the Care Quality Commission’s report on Chelsea and Westminster, I still couldn’t find any reference to these negative ratings on transparency. The CQC’s website turns off any normal person; it’s a myriad of PDFs and jargon.

To match its higher rating, the Queen Elizabeth has much more positive reviews. As ‘Gill’ claims ‘If your [sic] suffering from any form of arthritis, then this is the consultant to choose’. Overall, the hospital receives four stars from family and friends, as well as a clean bit of health from the CQC.

Although the Department of Health is keen to extoll the seven indicators of the new transparency drive — CQC standards, patient safety reporting, safe staffing, infection control and cleanliness, patients assessed for risk of blood clots, responding to patient safety alerts and recommendations by staff to their relatives and friends — the website still offers little concrete information to the average punter.

The problem is that the data behind the Accountability Hub. It appears to rely on recommendations of patients — which offer trends but will often differ — and the infrequent reports from the Care Quality Commission; the same quango criticised for its role in failing to spot the Mid Staffs scandal. The NHS’s Accountability Hub is better than nothing, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. More sunlight please, Mr Hunt.


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Show comments
  • Smithersjones2013

    I shudder to think what ‘great experience’ “Helen” might have had!

  • Michael H Kenyon

    The fatuousness of this sort of thing needs to be blown open and some of the berks who brought it in named, shamed, sacked, and indicted of wasting public money. I reckon the NHS would be substantially better off if the managerialists and their pointless meetings and cronyism could be excised from the system. It would, moreover, be a vote winner. While you are at it, kick them out of universities and any other public bodies. These people are a waste of resources and have made themselves central to how things are run, when they do eff-all except give bad recommendations you can be penalised for challenging. Let’s not forget they were brought in by a Conservative government then consolidated by ‘New’ Labour, and Conservatives have not shown much effort in stripping them out…

  • CharlietheChump

    Publish the raw data, excise subjective “views” and let sunlight do the work.

  • itdoesntaddup

    If you want more sunlight consider how patient reviews are conducted. Form doled out when you are told you will be discharged. However, the medications you will need after discharge won’t be applied for at the hospital pharmacy until the form is completed and handed in for review by the ward sister. Your condition may see you back in that ward inside a year. What kind of review do you give?

    Do you mention the broken ward toilet? The times the nurses left you in agony? The fact you are on your second round of surgery because the first was messed up? Your suspicion that you are being discharged to free up a bed and might suffer a relapse now you are no longer hooked up to monitoring devices and drips etc.?

    Do you heck. Do you even dare raise it with your consultant later, given his power to decide on your further treatment?

    Reviews need to be outwith the hospital administrative structure. Likewise whistleblowing reporting.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Good idea. The fact that it annoys lefty elitists is a bonus.

  • SackTheJuggler

    The idea that anyone could get a realistic view of something as complex as a large hospital from this little line of indicators is daft. At best, they give a vague and barely meaningful overview. At worst, they could unnecessarily frighten people.

    • telemachus

      They give us a meaningful overview of how smug Hunt is satisfied with a few figures on paper rather than getting down to the funding crisis that is gripping the NHS
      Unless he begins to address this, and yes it means removing treatments from public funding and merging health and social care as advised by Andy, the NHS will collapse

      • Kitty MLB

        Andy Burham is a deceitful manipulative vile
        socialist, one of the worse.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    Well the best of NHS works are patient led..always have been, always will be I say. And why the obsession with concrete? It strikes me this thing is set up for ordinary members of the general public who, like our wonderfully generous ( largely unwritten) UK constitution, can affect a much more flexible and quick improvement when necessary or appropriate.

    All this with no cement or concrete..much more sustainable in the long run, I daresay.

  • Liberty

    It is not good enough to rely on patients who do not understand the details, do not appreciate the need for accuracy and respondents are self selecting. It would be better to have hospitals use a cloud based system to input when patients enter or leave, for what, treatments, food, personnel data, etc. This can be analysed with software. All statistics can then be accessed by hospitals, GPs, DOH, etc. Once the system is set up it can be updated, additional criteria added, analysis improved as IT improves, etc. The value of feedback on comparitive performances and competition cannot be overestimated.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Yeah, that’s it, tick boxes, “computer says no” and beaucoup management information. Worked so well at Mid Staffs.

      And of course the classic that the “little people” cannot be trusted to know what’s good for them.

      • Liberty

        There is no substitute for reliable data from which we may draw conclusions. Personal impressions of the “If your [sic] suffering from any form of arthritis, then this is the consultant to choose…” type is useless. Gill seems to have come out OK but we don’t know about those who didn’t, how many there were, etc.

  • Kitty MLB

    This is excellent patients must have choice and as much
    information as possible in regards to whom will care
    for their health concerns. I have an excellent local hospital
    with hard working doctors and nurses and its very clean.
    Yet its hit or miss with a lot of hospitals.
    I wish we could see an end to the atrocious and incompetent
    out of hours service, most go to A&E to avoid the other.

  • Kitty MLB

    This is excellent patients must have choice and as much
    information as possible in regards to whom will care
    for their health concerns. I have an excellent local hospital
    with hard working doctors and nurses and its very clean.
    Yet its hit or miss with a lot of hospitals.
    I wish we could see an end to the atrocious and incompetent
    out of hours service, most go to A&E to avoid the other.

    • HookesLaw

      Is out of hours so bad. I don’t know, I only ask. Recently I was at a community hospital and saw a Land Rover Discovery laden down with medical equipmepnt and covered in logos saying NHS Out of Hours Doctor. It looked pretty impressive and competent to me.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘uGocomparethedirectlinetotheconfusedhospitalisedmeerkat.com’

  • telemachus

    This is nothing to do with either safety or choice
    It is all about Hunt politicking and posturing while, like Gove he lambasts rather than motivating and praising the workforce

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh rubbish Jeremy Hunt is an excellent heath secretary.
      Labour treat the NHS like a sacred cow that belongs to them
      instead of the public. It should always have been held
      accountable.Jeremy Hunt like Michael Gove is putting
      Their department right.

      • telemachus

        It is astonishing that anyone should try to defend the 2 most smug and incompetent of Government ministers

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Balls and Burnham are not government ministers. They are smug and incompetent however.

          • telemachus

            These two are the superstars of the next Government
            They will drive us forward into the twenties

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Yes the 1320s economically. Labour is the party of lies,lying,liars, failure and mediocrity.

            • CharlietheChump

              Watch the NHS death tolls rise if that most unfortunate event shoudl ever happen.

        • CharlietheChump

          Translation from the socialist thought speak – SMUG: To plan and achieve change effectively, to reduce government addicition to taxpayer money and to expose the complete lack of coherent policy proposed by a hard left union backed incompetent elite who adhere to policies that have never worked and which, always, ALWAYS lead to spending too much of other peoples money.

      • Stephen

        Would this be the same Hunt that is happy to spend taxpayers money on homeopathic treatments?

        • HookesLaw

          The NHS spent just
          £121,000 on homoeopathic prescriptions in 2010. This would be when Labour was in power of course.
          Its down to doctors and hospitals to use homoeopathy – the NHS itself says (referring to a list) ‘There is no good quality evidence that homoeopathy is an effective treatment for these or any other health conditions.’
          and
          ‘The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee said there is no evidence that homoeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.’

          The opinion of the NHS is quite clear.

          • Stephen

            You are quite right. There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective for any illness, disease or disorder except dehydration. And yet, according to the Daily Mail (24/1/13), Hunt presides over a department that wastes £4M a year on this nonsense. And he is on record saying that homeopathy should be available, free, from the NHS. No conservative should support any minister who wastes public money so wantonly.

            • itdoesntaddup

              £4m on placebos sounds very small beer to me in a budget of £95,600m. I’m sure the NHS spends a lot more than that on placebos – and that the spending is effective if it avoids the waste of more valuable resources that might otherwise be tied up in dealing with hypochondriacs.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      More lies. Better this than scum like Burnham under whose watch 1,200 patients died unnecessarily in one hospital alone.

      • telemachus

        Before Gordon’s magnificent investment in Health it is estimated that 4800 people in Stafford alone died for lack of treatment
        50% yes 50%
        That is half of all patients on cardiac waiting lists died before Gordon’s investment

        • Inverted Meniscus

          And yet more lies.

        • CharlietheChump

          Translation from socialist thought speak: INVESTMENT: To piss other peoples money away on unnecessary, unproductive client voter make work schemes

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