Medical professionals dispute watchdog’s report on Homerton hospital

Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row.

Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row. - Credit: Archant

A hospital has been branded one of the highest-risk facilities in the country, in a report which included patients’ feedback.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has put Homerton University Hospital and 23 other NHS acute trusts in England in the top risk band.

Among the factors taken into account were answers to questionnaires on whether patients felt staff did everything they could do to reduce pain; staff whistleblowing; and data on the number of people who were readmitted after being discharged.

The hospital in Homerton Row, Homerton, now faces a major inspection in the new year under a new “intelligent monitoring” system.

But the grading has shocked medical professionals in Hackney, who have raised concerns about the CQC’s methods in placing the hospital’s NHS trust in the worst category.

GP Dr Coral Jones said: “None of these statistics in the report are alarming. Unless the CQC elaborate … the report overall seems very reassuring.

“I would ask whether it is possible to accurately measure the risk of ‘emergency readmissions following an emergency admission’, as there are many reasons why readmissions could happen, such as unavoidable new illness or worsening of existing illness, rather than poor hospital care.”

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“I also think it’s difficult to assess risk from the survey question: ‘Do you think the hospital staff did everything they could to help control your pain?’ I would want to know how patients were asked these questions – was there any chance for patients to elaborate or qualify their answers, or was it just a simple yes or no?”

Cllr Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for health, social care and culture, said: “Placing the Homerton in the highest-risk band paints a picture of the hospital that I simply don’t recognise as a patient, as a governor or as a key partner in health and social care. I’m sure the team at the Homerton will be working hard on the areas highlighted by the CQC.”

The trust publicly welcomed the inspection, but it is understood staff are disappointed by the grading.

Trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher said: “We have had three unannounced CQC visits in the past 12 months and in all instances we have been found to be compliant in the areas examined, with the inspectors being very satisfied with the quality of the services we provide for our patients.

“We are confident that inspectors will continue to find high-quality services throughout our trust.”

A CQC spokesman said: “The possible risk score for each trust will vary because not all indicators will apply to all trusts. In each profile, we have included the number of applicable indicators and the maximum risk score possible if all indicators were to flag as ‘elevated risk’. We have provided ‘observed’ and ‘expected’ values for each indicator where applicable.”