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Queen’s boss attempts to calm death probe fears

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

By ADRIAN JENKINS

  • Queens Hospital - Main Entrance and A+E

  • Helen Ashley - chief executive, Queen's Hospital

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THE boss of Burton’s Queen’s Hospital has moved to allay fears following the announcement of a high-level investigation into its death rates.

In her first comments since NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said he would conduct the probe at the Prime Minister’s behest, chief executive Helen Ashley said she hoped the service regulatory framework would reassure patients.

“The Care Quality Commission has done unannounced visits and found us to be fully compliant,” she said, adding that commissioners had also visited to review Queen’s services.

“We have an awful lot of people whose responsibility it is to make sure we provide safe care and none of them has raised concerns about the care we deliver.

“There’s no doubt the review will be a worry to the public and potentially to patients who attend.

“But our objective is to learn how we can better improve our services and hopefully I can offer reassurance that we do offer safe services.”

Ms Ashley said it was ‘only right’ for Sir Bruce to investigate Queen’s high rate according hospital standardised mortality ratio.

But she pointed out that this contrasted with the hospital’s good performance on the other measure of mortality, summary hospital-level mortality indicator.

This, Ms Ashley explained, took account of external factors, such as deaths in the community, which may suggest there were influences ‘outside the hospital’s control’ driving its mortality.

But there was, she said, much Queen’s could to do influence its mortality.

“There are always things we can do to improve,” Ms Ashley said.

“We just need to rise to the challenge and continue to ensure we put patients at the heart of everything we do.”

The timescale and terms of the probe are expected to be announced today.

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2 comments

  • Biker  |  February 16 2013, 1:14PM

    I am so relieved that death rates are being investigated at Queen's. Having lost a member of my family at this hospital, in disgraceful circumstances, I feel this investigation cannot come soon enough. Personally I no longer feel safe using this hospital. Rather than travel nine miles to Queen's I prefer to travel the twenty-four miles to go to Derby Hospital and I know many others who do the same. I do not want to tar all of the hard-working nurses and doctors at this hospital with the same brush. Over the years prior to this incident I came across some wonderful staff who need to be congratulated for struggling on despite cuts and management stupidity. They also have to deal with a few arrogant doctors who seem to want to 'play God'. To those hardworkers thankyou. I would like to hope that this investigation will not be the whitewash that a complaint to the Chief Executive became.

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  • squigglefish  |  February 15 2013, 11:17AM

    Having visited the hospital yesterday it appears to me that the standard of care in the departments I visited were totally unacceptable. From the very start it took over 10 minutes for the receptionist to acknowledge our existence. It may seem petty but a simple nod to let the patient know that he/she has been seen is very reassuring and costs nothing. We then went to a ward, the first thing I noticed was the hand sanitiser gel on the walls next to most beds. The one next to the bed I Visited had a layer of dust on it that could not have formed overnight. The ward in question has a high throughput of patients and because of this the chance of cross infection is high. During the time I was at the hospital not once did I see a member of staff use the hand gel this worried me because of the amount of staff in the area I would have expected the staff to use them frequently. I never saw any visitor use the hand gel either although signs were in place (even on the curtains around the beds). In other hospitals I have visited people are made to sanitise there hands on entry to a ward and all it takes is a member of staff just to point visitors in the direction of the gel. Most visitors have to pass some form of nurses station before getting to the beds on a ward. The nurses stations normally have a couple of nurses sat there chatting they could be telling the visitors to sanitise there hands.

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