Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dr Foster stepped in a puddle right up to his middle

Dr Foster believes itself to be the leading provider of comparative information on health and social care services. It's latest hospital guide has caused controversy.

Nigel Hawkes in his BMJ column notes that it is a company that has been "granted at least one sweetheart deal — and possibly two — by the Department of Health". It tied the Healthcare Commission up in knots with its results (see previous post) and may be responsible for Baroness Young's resignation from CQC (see my post today).

We need independent academic opinion to publish comment on its latest hospital mortality data. Previous analysis in BMJ paper has suggested their "Claims that variations in hospital standardised mortality ratios ... reflect differences in quality of care are less than credible".

Rough NHS politics

Why's Baroness Young leaving the Care Quality Commission (CQC)? As CQC says on its website she resigned on 26th November. It can't be a coincidence that this was the day before the regulators demanded improvement at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It's also true that she has been a breath of fresh air in NHS regulation and to my mind a sad loss.

The Mail on Sunday story says Government sources have personally attacked her for causing problems because of her strong personality. It's only someone with strong opinions that can produce the necessary reform. I think the wrong person has gone (see previous post).