I WAS extremely disappointed to read your 'Special Report on West Middlesex Hospital', published on June 5.
Three months into my role as the new chief executive, and with more than 30 years' experience in the NHS, I am able to say that the headline and content of the report were both misleading and sensationalist and did not present a balanced view of the high standards of patient care delivered at this hospital.
I have found a staff team who are very dedicated, work very hard and take their responsibilities to ensure patient and staff safety extremely seriously.
During the two-year period quoted, the West Middlesex has looked after more than 194,000 patients in our accident and emergency department, close to 95,000 inpatients, as well as 430,000 outpatients.
This does not take into account all the visitors, employees and contractors to the hospital.
In this context, the number of reported incidents is extremely low in comparision to the vast number of people that visit the hospital on a daily basis.
The fact remains that any avoidable incident where a patient's care is adversely affected is one too many.
It is therefore vitally important that at the West Middlesex and across the NHS we maintain a culture that encourages staff to be open and honest and report incidents and near-misses to ensure we learn from them and put into place measures to prevent a recurrence. The SUI (serious untoward incident) system that is in place in all trusts across the NHS, allows a standardised framework for that reporting and learning to take place.
We were happy to share this information with you for our hospital, but I am disappointed the article was written in a way that failed to acknowledge that context and undermines public confidence in our staff and the work that they do.
In response to your article 'mystery over health on the menu', I would like to add we were extremely pleased that our patient catering received an 'excellent' score in the National Patient Safety Agency's recent assessment of the patient environment, demonstrating the food we offer is of a high quality.
I understand that coming into hospital is an anxious time for patients and their familes.
I would like to assure our community that the care and safety of our patients is our absolute priority and that everyone at the hospital will continue to strive to provide our community with the highest possible standards of care.
Jacqueline Docherty DBE, chief executive