The latest instalment of the 13-part health service review is not as damning as it looks, according to the government minister in charge.
Howard Quayle, who has been three months in the job now. said it was important to remember there were also many significant positives in the report.
Moreover the nature of the island with its small population meant certain criteria, designed with a large UK NHS trust in mind, could never be met.
‘We have nothing to hide. No stone will be left unturned. We are genuinely trying to improve it and we should remember there were also good news stories to come out of the latest report,’ Mr Quayle said.
‘Some of the criteria were failed before we even started simply becuase of our island set up and size and we are being assessed on standards that would apply to a large city.’
The most recent (second) part of the £200,000 investigation by the West Midlands Quality Review Service scored Noble’s at 92 per cent in its cardiac rehabilitation treatment but scored only 34 per cent for its heart failure service.
Mr Quayle said the discrepancy was down to their being a new consultant in post. He said the consultant was an excellent practitioner and the score reflected not his competency in the job but his lack of knowledge about systems and procedures peculiar to Noble’s Hospital.
The report rated diabetes care at 46 per cent, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease care at 40 per cent and Parkinson’s Disease care at 34 per cent.
In some instances Mr Quayle said the hospital had scored low because there was no resident island specialist - which was inevitable because the island did not generate sufficient cases to warrant it and patients received treatment off island. He said it was also inaccurate to brand the number of nursing staff as ‘insufficient’ because the UK criteria were based on the number of beds, despite some of those beds being empty in Noble’s.
‘I’m not trying to belittle it and say there are not problems but I do want to put it into perspective,’ Mr Quayle said.
In response to the findings so far, Mr Quayle said an extra £2.1 million had been earmarked in the next financial year to address problems. He said he was planning to recruit more consultants in Accident and Emergency and six more doctors were also to be recruited because this was cheaper than paying a locum.
‘We can’t comply with everything and we never will, but there are areas where we are really doing a fantastic job as well as areas I’m not proud of - but I will be in future,’ he said.