QA caught in row over A&E stats

QUEEN Alexandra Hospital has been caught up in a row over how accident and emergency department statistics are measured.

Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 4:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 6:37 pm
Data relating to the A&E department at QA Hospital included figures of performance rates at Gosport's minor injuries unit

The UK Statistics Authority has dubbed recent NHS accident and emergency figures potentially ‘misleading’ after a variation in the way they are calculated.

The data showed that Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which oversees QA Hospital in Cosham, had made a nine per cent improvement on its goal to treat all A&E patients within four hours.

But the calculations – which said the trust treated 78.7 per cent of A&E patients inside the time period – included treatment times from the walk-in centre at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

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Without the additional figures, which reports suggest an NHS Improvement letter urged nationwide trusts to include in October 2017, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust would have achieved 69.7 per cent.

In a letter to NHS England, Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation at the UK Statistics Authority, said: ‘Changes in the way that statistics are collected, compiled and presented should be clearly explained, reassuring all users that the production and quality of the published data is trustworthy.

‘This will support better decision making and avoid users reaching misleading conclusions.’

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust said the body ‘appropriately’ includes figures from Gosport War Memorial Hospital Minor Injuries Unit in its performance statistics – a service operated by its emergency department team.

Addressing Mr Humpherson’s letter, an NHS Improvement spokesperson said figures solely reflecting the performance of 24-hour type 1 A&E departments, including QA Hospital’s, were available.

They added: ‘Our letter to trusts, which was reported and explained by us at the time, was intended to address variation in the way A&E activity was being reported, and to ensure all trusts are reporting the same activity on the same basis.’