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George Eliot Hospital - NHS Trust
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Hospital defends its position on pressure sores


The Trust has a policy of recording ALL hospital acquired (post 48 hour from admission) pressure ulcers, regardless of whether they are considered 'avoidable' or ‘unavoidable'. Some organisations will not record unavoidable pressure ulcers. Some Trusts also only record the most severe ulcers (grades 3-4 or grades 2, 3 & 4).  GEH records all, including grade 1 sores.

The Trust has elected to take this approach of reporting with a view to ensuring patients receive the appropriate treatment and incidences of the most serious (grade 3 and grade 4) ulcers are reduced. This is something we have achieved, with the Trust recording no grade 4 and just five grade 3 pressure ulcers in the six months to December 2011 (this compares to eight grade 4s and 17 grade 5s for the same period in 2010).

Please see our media statement below, which clearly sets out our concerns at being compared to Trusts who have a different way of reporting. It is important to note that the Trust is hitting its performance (CQIN) targets for reductions in pressure sores and no concerns have been raised by regulatory bodies with regards to our performance in this particular area. We strongly believe that this coverage will be an inaccurate reflection of the quality of care provided by the Trust and raise unnecessary alarm amongst the local community.

Media statement

Kevin McGee for the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust explains: “We recognise that no national standard exists for the reporting of pressure sores which means data provided to the Daily Mail is not comparing like for like and is undoubtedly leading to large variations in the number of pressure sores reported by different organisations.  We have serious concerns with such comparisons being made as patients and members of the public may struggle to understand the differences in reporting leading to unnecessary alarm being caused.

“At GEH we actively encourage our staff to report ALL pressure sores, including those that some organisations may consider ‘unavoidable’ and may choose not report.  We firmly believe we are taking the correct action by recording ALL identified pressure sores and would urge colleagues nationally to take the same approach and for standardised methods to be adopted across the NHS.

“Data shows we have made great progress with early identification, treatment and prevention of the most harmful pressure sores for patients, with only five grade 3 and no grade 4 sores reported in the six months between July and December 2011.

“Our vigilance also means that ‘lower harm’ sores (grades 1 and 2) are identified quickly and appropriate treatment started early, leading to better outcomes for our patients.  This is reinforced by the Trust’s achievement of its ‘CQUIN’ (quality and innovation) target for pressure sores.”

Statement from NHS Midlands and East (formerly the SHA)

Currently, the NHS does not measure pressure ulcers in the same way across all hospitals. Therefore it is not possible to accurately compare hospitals performance in this area. A new system is shortly to be introduced, called the “Safety Thermometer”, which will rate all ulcers in an accurate, simple and standardised way, the results of which will be published. George Eliot Hospital is a pilot site for this initiative. This is part of a stated ambition amongst hospitals across NHS Midlands and East to eliminate all avoidable grade 2,3 and 4 pressure ulcers by the end of the year.