PERFORMANCE: The foundation trust was non-compliant with eight national patient safety alerts past the deadline for their completion in February, new data shows.

Figures extracted from the NHS central alerting system show that on 17 February Aintree UH had still not completed work on alerts about reducing the risk of harm from oral bowel cleansing solutions, preventing delay to follow-up for glaucoma patients, minimising the risks of suprapubic catheter insertion, and being open with patients following a patient safety incident, among others.

The most overdue of those alerts was titled “early identification of failure to act on radiological imaging reports”, due to have been completed on 29 March 2010.

The foundation trust had the highest number of outstanding alerts past deadline in the North West, although its figure had reduced from 10 in January.

In January, Aintree UH medical director Dr Gary Francis told HSJ: “NPSA alerts usually say what should be done, but do not specify how. One organisation may set a one or two step response, while another may go for a 10-step response which will take longer to mark ‘closed’. All organisations must decide what actions are right to maximise safety for their patients.

 “Publication of this data is very welcome as part of the debate on how to share information to improve safety. It helps clinical teams learn from each other, and will also help us to understand how we can start sharing information meaningfully with patients to help drive up quality and safety standards.

 “Regarding safety generally, Dr Foster has consistently highlighted us as having one of the best Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios in the country, our NPSA incident reporting profile is indicative of a safe Trust, and we are constantly working with other organisations on safety initiatives.” 

The alerts are issued by the National Patient Safety Agency, informing NHS staff of actions to help address avoidable problems which have repeatedly caused harm or death. Before January, data on non-compliance was not routinely made public. The February figures are only the second set to have been published by the NPSA.