It is appalling that the Coalition Government and in particular the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has decided to play party politics with a report that was looking into the quality of care and treatment of some hospital trusts with high mortality rates. The media were briefed with inaccurate details before the publication of the report and Jeremy Hunt has used selective parts of the report which suited his political purpose rather than give a fair assessment of the overall view of the report.
You can read the report in full (http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/bruce-keogh-review/Documents/outcomes/keogh-review-final-report.pdf) but here are some of the positive aspects from the report that Jeremy Hunt had chosen to overlook:
Our NHS is the only healthcare system in the world with a definition of quality enshrined in legislation.
We found pockets of excellent practice in all 14 of the trusts reviewed.
So, I was never interested in simply confirming whether or not there were problems at these trusts. They knew they had problems, which they have tried but struggled to address.
Between 2000 and 2008, the NHS was rightly focused on rebuilding capacity and improving access after decades of neglect. The key issue was not whether people were dying in our hospitals avoidably, but that they were dying whilst waiting for treatment. Having rebuilt capacity and improved access, it was then possible to introduce a much more systematic focus on quality. But more clearly needs to be done to equip boards with the necessary skills to grip the quality agenda;
In 2008, Lord Darzi set out a comprehensive strategy for improving quality. NHS England is continuing to pursue this strategy with vigour.
It is important to understand that mortality in all NHS hospitals has been falling over the last decade: overall mortality has fallen by about 30% and the improvement is even greater when the increasing complexity of patients being treated is taken into account. Interestingly, the rate of improvement in the 14 hospitals under review has been similar to other NHS hospitals.
- Jeremy Hunt accused of turning NHS deaths into ‘political capital’ (guardian.co.uk)
- NHS review: Where did the “13,000 deaths” figure come from? (blogs.spectator.co.uk)