MORTALITY rates of patients suffering from certain digestive and liver conditions at the Great Western Hospital have been singled out as a possible area for concern in a new report by the health watchdog.

The latest Intelligent Monitoring report published by the Care Quality Commission emphasised an area of risk of in-hospital mortality for people suffering from gastroenterological and hepatological conditions and through procedures at the hospital.

The watchdog also singled out the ratio of more senior band seven nurses to lower band five and six nurses as a possible risk factor for patients.

A high level of whistle-blowing within the Great Western Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust was the also a point of concern in the document.

The report is based on more than 150 indicators, including feedback from the NHS staff survey, the national in-patient survey, emergency readmissions and concerns raised by employees.

Despite this, the Great Western Hopsitals NHS Foundation Trust was placed in band six level for risk – the lowest.

No evidence of risk was found in about 90 other areas examined, including safeguarding, waiting times for diagnostic tests and the wait for cancer patients between their urgent GP referral and the first treatment.

GWH said it was investigating what the CQC actually meant regarding in-hospital mortality and how it was assessed.

But Alf Troughton, the medical director at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said overall the report was positive for staff. “We welcome this latest report from the Care Quality Commission,” he said. “While it is good news that we have been banded low risk at a six, we are not complacent and will continue working to ensure safe, effective and high-quality care for our patients.

“Much of the data for this report is provided by our trust directly.

“The intelligent monitoring tool confirms a lot of what we know through our own routine monitoring and we are already taking a close look at the possible risks identified.

“We routinely publish a whole range of information on our website, on both areas where we are doing well and areas we need to improve. “This is an important part of our commitment to being open and transparent and promoting the care we provide.

“We actively encourage our staff to speak up and raise any concerns at the earliest opportunity, so that we can investigate and take action where needed. “We want to develop a culture where all staff feel confident, safe and supported to report any issues.”

The report is not a firm judgement on quality, according to the CQC, as this can only be made through inspections.

The chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Our Intelligent Monitoring tool is a good indicator of where problems are likely to be. “However, this has not been universal. We must be mindful that indicators are just that, indicators, and are not judgements of quality.

“Indicators can suggest potential problems where there are none so we also continue to listen carefully to what the public and staff tell us about the care being delivered. “The inspection will always be our judgement on the quality of care provided.”