Clean bill of health for our hospitals

Sarah BrealeyA report which revealed serious concerns about safety at 12 of the country's hospitals has given this region a largely clean bill of health.Sarah Brealey

A report which revealed serious concerns about safety at 12 of the country's hospitals has given this region a largely clean bill of health.

All Norfolk's major hospitals have death rates in line with what would be expected, and have improved them relative to the national average. None of the three is classed among the poorest in the country for safety.

But the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston is placed only just above this category - it in band two, the second lowest out of five, on a combination of safety measures, and is number 132 out of 146 hospitals ranked. The hospital's death rate, which is adjusted to take account of the age and type of patients, is 102.12 - just above the average of 100. This is a big improvement from a year ago and the hospital has been praised for 'improving their figures so much that they are no longer a concern'.

The report has been compiled by independent hospital data analysts Dr Foster, which works in partnership with the NHS and was one of the first to warn of problems at the troubled Mid Staffordshire hospital. Today's report reveals that Basildon and Thurrock NHS trust, which has been in the headlines this week for poor care and unnecessary deaths, has the worst death rate in the country and the worst score for safety.

Wendy Slaney, chief executive at the James Paget, said: 'We have made it clear that safety and infection control is our first priority. Our aim is always to deliver clean, safe, effective treatment to patients. We have had tremendous success in reducing hospital-associated infections and will continue our work to drive down these figures still further.'

She added the hospital was taking part in national patient safety campaigns, that patient safety issues were considered by its board of directors meeting and governors' council, and that it works with the primary care trust to look at safety. The hospital will be seeing what it can learn from the hospitals which have scored well.

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Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge is rated as the second safest hospital in the country, behind University College London hospital. It also has a low mortality rate of 80.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn are both in band four out of five for safety, the QEH ranked 29th out of 146 and the N&N 53rd. The N&N's death rate, which is adjusted to compare with an average of 100, is 99.83 and that at the QEH is 98.75. The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has a death rate of 95.96 but a safety rating in band two.

All the figures are for April 2008 to March this year.


Number of operations in which something was 220

left in the body (eg swab or piece of equipment)

Number of operations done on the wrong body part 110

Number of operations cancelled due to missing notes 500