How is it possible for Basildon University Hospital to be rated “Good” on the very same day that it was established that dozens of people had needlessly died due to the filthy conditions on its wards. Blood was found spattered on curtains and chairs in the A&E ward, patients were not being fed properly and patients were being treated on trollies. Mortality rates were a third higher than comparable hospitals. It is clear that the entire management of the hospital needs to be replaced quickly. But what it also shows is that hospital ratings are worth nothing. If Basildon is rated ‘Good’ be very worried about hospitals which are only rated ‘Satisfactory’.Today we had news that the Chairman of the Colchester PCT has been sacked after serious deficiencies were found in the area's general hospital. Tonight The Observer has revealed findings of a Doctor Foster's hospital report, which shows that 18 hospitals have equivalent or higher death rates than Basildon and 39% fail to investiagte causes of death properly. Assuming one can trust the results of this survey, this is all deeply worrying for everyone.
But one thing is clear. All this is the result of the tick box mentality which Labour has instilled into NHS managers. As long as boxes are ticked, a hospital can be classified as 'good', even if standards of cleanliness and patient care leave a lot to be desired.