How good is your local hospital
Wednesday 19 October 2016
We all have an idea of how good or bad our local hospital is, don’t we..?
The local TV news or local papers regularly run stories about the local hospital, our friends and family talk about the treatment they have received or, if unfortunate we get to experience our local hospital first hand.
From these stories we get an impression of how good our local hospital is but really, how do we actually know how good it is? How, for example, does our local hospital compare to the best hospitals in the country, or even to the best hospitals worldwide? And, what’s most important to you, how good is your hospital at treating YOUR problem or condition?
Take hip or knee replacement for example. While it’s important to know that waiting times are reasonable at your local hospital and MRSA infection rates are low, what really matters to patients- to you, a relative or a close friend- is what pain and function is going to be like after joint replacement. “Is the pain going to be less or stop altogether, or is there a chance I could be worse off, and will I be able to do more everyday things, but also the activities I really enjoy?”
That information, about pain and function, is collected by hospitals and is available if you know where to look. Patient Reported Outcome Measures, or PROMs, measure what really matters to patients. For hip of knee replacement the Oxford score is the question set or ‘tool’ of choice; 12 questions ask about pain, generally and at certain times, and function, such as how far you can walk, difficulty climbing stairs and difficulty getting in and out of the car. Each of the 12 questions is scored from 0 to 4 and the total Oxford score is measured out of 48 points. So the worst score possible is 0/48 and the best score, for someone with no pain and full function, is 48/48.
All hospitals performing hip or knee replacement take part in the National PROMs Programme and collect these Oxford scores before and six months after surgery. The scores are then collected together for all patients and the health score gain for a particular hospital or group of patients made available online. This information points patients towards exactly how good their hospital is at treating their particular condition.
So that’s how to answer the question: How good is your local hospital? PROM scores or Oxford scores, publicly available online if you know where to look. In upcoming articles we’ll show you where to find these scores, take a look at some of the results for a local Ramsay hospital and highlight some of the improvements that are coming over the next year or so.
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon