Read this – it shows just how determined some people are to close Leeds Children’s Heart Unit
I don’t think there could be a much clearer example of the concerted, deliberate and wantonly inaccurate media campaign to undermine the NHS and achieve ulterior motives than today’s BBC News headline about the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit (CHU). It’s also perfectly in line with the track record of media and certain health interests in sullying the reputation of Leeds’ crucial and much-loved unit – a continued demonstration of the determination in certain quarters to see Leeds close even if there is no justification for it. There are too many articles on various facets of that story to link them all here, but if you want to see more a search of the blog for ‘Leeds’ will yield plenty of reading material.
The BBC long ago abandoned any pretence of impartiality on the NHS, instead contributing with gusto to the disinformation on issues like the A&E crisis, or even…
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First – in this type of research well-intentioned, sophisticated statistical procedures are vulnerable to error as well as misinterpretation: a statistically significant variation does not mean that there is a significant (in the sense of noteworthy and needing attention) variation in reality. In any measure there will always be a normal variation, and hospitals at different times will shift positions on the graph.
Coalition axe-grinders cannot be expected to care about accuracy when they see something that seems to justify what they were going to do anyway.
A different researcher, using the same general approach, is quite likely to come to different conclusions. What is needed here is a blind trial with the same rigour used in clinical drug trials and also supervised by independent experts from the Royal Statistical Society. It is a depressing irony that Florence Nightingale, arguably one the principal founders of public health in this country, and a Fellow of the RSS was able to use statistics without arousing this sort of contention.
Many factors other than surgical expertise contribute to death rates and it is impossible to weight them without making judgements. Just as schools in less favoured regions struggle to exceed average standards, so hospitals have to do the best with the general health of their catchment.