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Hospital not failing public

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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WE were very saddened by the front page headline in last week's Journal – 'NDDH: condition critical?'

We are always ready to listen to patients, and to apologise and learn when things go wrong. We cultivate an open culture and are recognised nationally for the diligence with which we report incidents, so we can improve care for the future.

As the trust's senior doctors, we would like to reassure patients and the wider public that it is wrong to draw such a generalisation from two isolated cases.

We have seen at first hand over recent days the impact this has had on our colleagues, who work hard to provide the best treatment, earn daily gratitude from patients and families, and are at a loss to explain how this could be described as "condition critical".

The two episodes referred to on the front page span two years – one dating back to 2010 - and should not be used to draw wider conclusions.

Readers would have perhaps seen the contradiction themselves when turning to page 30, where there was an article on the nationally-recognised service provided by our surgeons for gall bladder patients.

We would like to offer the following facts by way of reassurance that your local hospital is not failing:

Our waiting times for operations are some of the best in the South West

Our outcomes for patients, including standardised mortality rate and standards following joint replacements, are within nationally-set levels

Our patients tell us standards are high, with national surveys of both in-patients and out-patients putting North Devon District Hospital in the top 20 per cent across the NHS

We had three reported cases of hospital-acquired C. difficile infection between April and September 2012, well below the national standard of eight

We have had no hospital-acquired MRSA bloodstream infections since February 2011

The annual inspection for food, privacy and dignity rated the trust as "excellent", with the environment, including cleanliness, rated as "good"

The new children's ward, opened this year, receives swathes of thank you letters from parents and children for treatment received

Please do not think these two cases suggest something wider is wrong; we can assure readers that is untrue.

Dr Alison Diamond

Medical Director,

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr John Coop

Katie Cross

John Taylor

Dr Andrew Davis

Clinical directors,

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

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