Tuesday, 30 November 2010

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust Board Meeting and Dr Foster Hospital Guide

I will be attending the Board meeting of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust today, where the involvement of LAS in the 7/7 Inquest will be among issues discussed. It is also significant that hospital turnaround times have increased significantly in the last few months, i.e. the time that ambulances have to wait at A&E to hand over patients. Data and Board papers are available on the LAS website. As the Chair of the LAS Patients Forum, I put questions at the meeting and am often the only member of the public present.

NALM (National Association of LINks Members) has also forwarded the following information re the Dr Foster's Report on the state of various hospitals. Well worth checking out how your local hospital is faring.




It is 10 years since the first Dr Foster Hospital Guide was published. In some ways much has
changed in 10 years, but in other ways not enough has changed. A decade ago we had data
on all hospital admissions, from which we compared mortality ratios and other measures.
That data is still our main source of information. We have no primary and community
care data, no private sector data and no data that shows what happens to patients over
the whole course of their illness. Excitingly, the Coalition Government seems committed
to finally addressing this issue, and the 2010 guide is in part a case for more and better
information. More on this from Roger Taylor on page 6.

The Hospital Guide has also changed over the past 10 years, although some constants
remain. We continue to publish Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs) but, in
addition to this, have now introduced two other ways of looking at mortality. You can find
the results on pages 16-17.
For the 2010 guide we have teamed up with leading clinicians and analysts to shine the
spotlight on three areas important to many patients: stroke, orthopaedics and urology
(see pages 18-25). And we have returned to the thorny subject of safety. The publicity
around last year’s safety index took some by surprise, but raised awareness of the risks
facing patients. This year we look back to see where there has been improvement and
where problems remain. The 2009 guide prompted some changes, including a Department
of Health task force on measuring mortality and new rules around the reporting of safety
incidents. However, we still have some way to go to get reliable data about ‘adverse events’.

We are also trying out some new ways of presenting information on our website. Visitors
to www.drfosterhealth.co.uk can now specify which aspects of patient experience matter
most to them and then find out which hospital trusts perform best on the relevant criteria.
As ever, thanks must go to all those who have helped make this year’s guide come to life,
especially the experts whose commentaries and opinions you will find throughout the
report. Thank you also to those individuals in each NHS trust who coordinated activity
around the Hospital Guide, not least in responding to our annual survey, to which 99 per
cent of trusts returned data.

The challenge we set ourselves is to produce a report which is accessible for patients and
the public and valid for clinicians and managers. This guide has been 10 years in the making and we hope you find it stimulating and informative.

Alex Kafetz, Dr Foster

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