Leeds KONP response to the CQC report for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

Beyond Guardian Leeds has picked up on the CQC release of hospital reports using their ‘Intelligent Monitoring’ methodology. The report scored Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust particularly about incidence of Clostridium Difficile and risk, although the CQC state that

The monitoring shows where there are issues we need to look into. It does not mean that people are at risk 1
YP did include comments from the Leeds Chief Medical Officer accepting that they have more to do but highlighting the lower than average mortality rates and staff working hard to provide good care.

A member of Leeds KONP explained

“The Quality Care Commission has commented on relatively high rates of hospital acquired infection (HAI) in Leeds. There is mandatory reporting of such infections, and stiff financial penalties when infections occur.

Whether heavy fines are a good way of improving safety is an open question, particularly at a time when a cash-strapped Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is also taking its share of the £20 billion so called ‘efficiency’ savings being imposed nationally. The causes of HAI are multifactorial and much debated but may partly lie with the outsourcing of cleaning contracts to the private sector since the late 1980s, and the relentless drive to reduce hospital beds in England resulting  in relative overcrowding and loss of isolation facilities.

The CQC also noted poor staff feedback, and the current recovery plan agreed with the NHS Trust Development Agency (to which LTHT is legally accountable) includes a strategy to improve staff engagement. This should mean management taking more notice of health workers when it comes to how to run services in the best interests of patients.”

Professor Mark Wilcox  is the Public Health England Lead on Clostridium Difficile and Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Leeds. Research carried out by his team at 4 NHS trusts is now contributing to the NHS guidelines on C.Difficile.  A BBC article four weeks ago published details of a study in Oxfordshire which showed evidence of less than a fifth of C.Difficile cases being spread through hospital patients and suggesting that further genetic research may help identify the sources of the infection being spread.

Roy Lilley points out

Inspecting hospitals sounds good in the headline world of newspapers and sound-bite public opinion2

and in a different article asks

Why does government persist with CQC inspections and intelligent men and women belittle themselves by working at the task?

It has been whispered to me; ‘…there is no reason unless the real motive is to secretly welcome failure.’  To persistently look for and highlight NHS short-comings as part of a wider plan to portray it as a failing organisation, break it up and sell it.  I refuse to believe that but I know there are an increasing number of you who do.  I think it would be lunacy and an act of national vandalism.3


1 CQC (2013) FAQs Intelligent Monitoring Question 10 My local trust is flagged as having a risk or elevated risk for a specific indicator, is it safe? available at CQC website: http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/documents/20130905_intelligent_monitoring_faqs_v06_for_publication.pdf

2 & 3 Lilley R (2013) Rethink available via NHS Managers.net and Inspection Doesn’t Work, available in Public World

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