The Healthcare Commission has apologised for sending 62 primary care trusts the wrong ratings last week. The commission was alerted to the errors by PCTs, which were given their individual scores on Tuesday, ahead of the official launch of figures for all of England on Thursday.
The errors, detected late on Tuesday, meant that the commission had to work overnight to correct figures for the 62 PCTs that had been given too low a rating in the category of quality of services.
Following the discovery of an error in the allocation tables used to calculate the quality of services rating, the Healthcare Commission was forced to upgrade 34 PCTs from 'fair' to 'good' and 28 from 'weak' to 'fair'. The 62 incorrect scores were published in HSJlast week, which went to press before the commission spotted the problem; the corrected version was published on hsj.co.uk.
A commission spokeswoman said that the ratings error had come to light after a number of PCTs contacted the organisation to highlight inaccuracies in the scoring model for the existing national targets.
She was keen to stress that although the error had been missed by the commission, staff worked 'throughout the night' to rectify the inaccuracies.
'We notified all PCTs by e-mail last Wednesday that there had been technical issues - we do apologise for any inconvenience,' she added.
Lucy O'Leary, head of performance at North Tees PCT, which was moved from 'fair' to 'good' on quality of services, said she had 'gone a bit ballistic' when she had discovered the PCT had been rated lower than expected.
'We spent the day trying to work out how the Healthcare Commission had got that score before we were told the next day that it was a &Quot;technical error&Quot;,' she said.
Ms O'Leary claimed that the commission had given no further information on what had gone wrong, but that her PCT would be seeking clarification.
'It is very disappointing that they have fallen at the final hurdle because they are not able to add up right,' she added.
NHS Alliance chief executive Mike Sobanja commented: 'This is extremely disappointing. One would think that the job of PCTs is hard enough without the Healthcare Commission creating a more negative public view of PCTs.
'I hope this will be the end of the errors and that they will be getting it right in the future.'