Health chiefs were slammed yesterday for giving out misleading information on death rates at Paisley’s main hospital.
Last month, the Paisley Daily Express revealed shocking figures detailing how death rates at the Royal Alexandra Hospital DOUBLE at weekends.
The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, confirmed the Monday-to-Friday death rate at the RAH was around two per cent – increasing to around four per cent on Saturdays and Sundays.
This would mean you are TWICE as likely to die at the RAH at the weekend than you are during the week.
However, following clinical analysis of the statistics, health bosses now insist the weekday death rate is 4.1 per cent and the weekend rate is 3.9 per cent.
Yesterday, when Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry raised the matter at Holyrood, he was told the original stats – requested from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde by Johnstone man Ian McConaghy – are inaccurate.
Mr Henry told the Express: “The fact remains that the health board released statistics showing mortality rates at the RAH are higher at the weekend.
“My worry is that you can have lies, damned lies and statistics.
“The crucial thing is to give patients a guarantee that they are as safe at weekends as during the week.
“The health board are saying the statistics which they previously gave are misleading. Can we now believe their latest statistics?”
Mr Henry had raised the matter at the Scottish Parliament yesterday in a bid to find out why reported death rates at the RAH were higher at the weekends than on weekdays.
In response, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, claimed there is little difference in the death rates and that the “raw data” previously released by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde should be discounted.
Mr Neil told the Parliament: “In the release, the mortality rate was expressed as a percentage of the number of discharges.
“As there are fewer discharges at the weekend, the denominator is small, thus artificially inflating the proportion of deaths.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has undertaken a more robust analysis of the data between 2002 and 2012 and, as a result, has been able to assure me that there is no significant difference in the mortality rates at the Royal Alexandra Hospital between weekdays and weekends.”
Mr Henry has now called for an assurance that the health board is not “fiddling figures.”
He added: “I still believe that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing should independently review these figures.”
Last night, a spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Following further analysis and clinical review of these figures, we have since established that there is no variance in death rates depending on the day of admission and that the original FOI data was sent in a raw, non-standardised format that was open to misinterpretation.”