Fact Check: Glasgow hospital is safer and cleaner than most

Today’s Holyrood vote of no confidence in Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board is a political stunt orchestrated by Anas Sarwar, based on media reports alleging, free of evidence, serious problems with infection and deaths.

Here are the facts:

In terms of actual mortality in Glasgow hospitals from April 2019 to March 2020, the period in which we saw the deaths supposedly linked to infections, all of the Glasgow hospitals had expected patient mortality rates and the Queen Elizabeth actually had a better than expected rate with nearly 200 less deaths than predicted based on previous years:

https://www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/hospital-standardised-mortality-ratios/hospital-standardised-mortality-ratios-april-2019-to-march-2020/hospital-standardised-mortality-dashboard-april-2019-to-march-2020/

That offending red blob, a hospital which had more deaths than expected, is the Western General in Edinburgh. There is no vote of confidence for that board.

In terms of infections:

In the same year, Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB), a proven serious systemic form of infection, which leads to increased morbidity and mortality, in a way pigeon poo fungus does not, was, for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, in the same range as other health boards ie low and falling.

Click to access 1_hai-annual-report-2019-summary.pdf

Again, in the same year, incidents of the very infectious Norovirus fell by 40% to only 890 reports yet in NHS England, 1 000 beds were closed in December alone:

https://www.publichealthscotland.scot/publications/annual-summary-of-norovirus-infections/annual-summary-of-norovirus-infections-2019/

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/12/nhs-warning-as-winter-vomiting-bug-closes-1000-hospital-beds/

If you want to see hospitals where the health board might be sacked but where no one called for that, try these:

An independent review will be held into maternity services at the East Kent NHS Trust after up to 15 babies died there in recent years. Nadine Dorries, minister for patient safety, pledged immediate action and said NHS England would investigate the two hospitals in Margate and Ashford.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-51490841

More than 1,000 babies die or are left with severe injury each year as a result of something going wrong during labour. It goes beyond the current crisis of underfunding: the Care Quality Commission has found that four in 10 maternity services require improvement or are inadequate.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/04/as-long-as-sexism-lies-at-the-heart-of-childcare-babies-and-women-will-continue-to-die

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9 thoughts on “Fact Check: Glasgow hospital is safer and cleaner than most

  1. This waste of time and money political stunt as we know has nothing to do with any BritNat concern for the people of Glasgow. To have a vote in parliament, against a health board, anywhere, is that a first?
    It indicates an agenda, clearly lacking in facts or reality, it is tabloid politics and it’s not what Scotland needs right now! Disgraceful, Labour branch office in Scotland should hang their heads in shame.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks John for taking the time to probe, research and share this info (in all your posts). I think you should add a donation box so we can have n Xmas whipround, not sure you know how much we appreciate what you do

    Arty Hetty, while I agree with what you say a very similar argument was used against the SNP corruption debate last night, what do you mean you haven’t read about in on the BBC! Maybe a debate & vote in parliament is needed to get this properly discussed, minuted and false claims slapped down?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for providing the links to these official data. For a statistics anorak like myself, this is the equivalent of ‘sitting down with a good book’!

    These data show several things.

    Firstly, how complex things are in the field of health (as in education, policing, social work and other public services) because we are dealing with many factors which interact in many ways.

    Secondly, how little variation there is amongst hospitals when broad measures are used. Of course, this is what we hope will be the case, because, a national health service ought to have broadly similar outcomes no matter where in the country a patient is.

    Having spent several decades interpreting education data relating to Scottish secondary schools, finding an individual datum that was statistically significant was rare. Of, course, there were variations in the outcomes of schools, but by taking into account by weighting the various contributory factors (such as the socio-economic indicators) almost all of the variance could be explained. Indeed, research some years ago at the University of Stirling which compared all Scottish schools by introducing weightings indicated that almost all were similar and that some of the few whose outcomes were below the weighted mean were schools in the most affluent areas.

    Such considerations apply to comparisons amongst hospitals. Parts of the country which are high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, will, in raw figures, have more deaths in total, more deaths at earlier ages. Parts of the country where the population is older, will reflect this in raw hospital statistics.

    Of course, Mr Sarwar, being a dentist, will know this, but he chooses not to.

    I see that a number of clinicians at QEUH has written to the FM complaining about the damning of Health Boards and hospitals by opposition politicians and the media. I suspect these medics will NOT be invited to the dinner parties that Mr John Beattie of BBC Scotland attends.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The BBC like to prefix any reference to this hospital as ‘the troubled hospital’ which is quite amusing for the troubled broadcaster. Maybe we should compare the hospitals approval rating to BBC Scotland’s rating, it’s unlikely to look pretty for them.

    Of course all their BBC jobs are safe as they merely need to please the Westminster government, the Scottish public and government probably aren’t even on their radar, and they more than fulfil this requirement.

    Liked by 3 people

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