Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust NOT putting patients’ lives at risk, as claimed by the Surrey Herald following a report from medical charity Action Against Medical Accidents.

This report gives details on the number of patient safety alerts not closed down (i.e. not fully actioned or with proven effectivness) by hospitals across the country.The charity accuses Trusts of compromising patient safety.

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Medical Director Dr Mike Baxter has said: “I would like to make it very clear that Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust is not putting patients’ lives at risk by having these 8 patient safety alerts remaining open.

As a Trust we consider patient safety to be of the utmost seriousness and our chosen policy is not to close any safety alerts unless we are absolutely satisfied that we have completed every step of the work required and demonstrated these measures are effective. In fact, the diligence we undertake in compiling our action plans has been complemented by the Strategic Health Authority, who is responsible for managing our performance.

When an alert is not closed it doesn’t mean the Trust is unaware of it, or has not instigated a review or action plan. In fact these are in place for all the alerts identified. Furthermore, it does not in any way mean patient safety is compromised.

We have detailed action plans in place for the 8 alerts that remain open. Three of these are due for immediate closure and at least two of the others which remain open in this trust are also open in the majority of trusts in the country as they await technological solutions to address the problems identified. I can personally assure our patients that we are not putting any patients’ lives at risk.

This is an organisation driven by patient safety right from front-line staff through to our Board, who spend considerable time every month – in public – scrutinising our quality and safety reports.”

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