BRADFORD Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital have both been given the lowest 'red' ranking for infection control and cleanliness in a national patient safety report released by the NHS - but both hospitals insist they are working to improve standards.

Each hospital scores 'green' on some key safety issues, including how patients are assessed for blood clots and patient safety reporting.

But Bradford Royal Infirmary also scores 'red' over Care Quality Commission national standards, which is the result of a previous inspection and cannot be changed until the hospital is re-inspected. Airedale scored a 'green' rating in that category.

However, BRI Chief Nurse Juliette Greenwood said that rating was a reflection of a Care Quality Commission inspection made in January and there was nothing the hospital or trust could do the change that until a fresh inspection was carried out.

Problems addressed in the CQC inspection, including concerns over staff numbers, had already been addressed, she said.

It was also acknowledged that the hospital's performance over C Diff cases in April and May had been below expectations, leading to the 'red' rating in that category.

All such infection incidents are investigated and, if it is demonstrated the hospital could have done nothing more to avoid them, will be struck off the list. That process has yet to happen at BRI.

"We are not at all complacent, we don't want to have a red mark against us," said Mrs Greenwood yesterday.

“We embrace this new open and transparent system which helps inform greater patient choice.

”I would echo the Chief Nurse of England’s comments that we are at the beginning of a journey to provide assurance to patients and the public through the publication of these safe quality indicators.

“While there is nothing unexpected in these statistics, there are always areas for improvements and we are already actively working on these.

“We hope the publishing of today’s data gives the Bradford public confidence that they will be given the safest care if they come to one of our hospitals.”

The new patient safety statistics are being released by the NHS in an attempt to give patients the information they need to make judgments about where to go when they need medical treatment in future.

According to the NHS, "Patient safety issues are the avoidable errors in healthcare that can cause harm to patients. Harm in this context means injury, suffering, disability or death."

Rob Dearden, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “Patient safety remains a top priority at Airedale and we have a strong incident reporting culture where we encourage staff to report all patient safety issues and concerns.

“It is vital that we are continually scrutinising all aspects of our care so that we are able to act upon any patient safety issues quickly and make the necessary changes to prevent them happening again.

“Our staff work extremely hard to reduce the likelihood of serious infections, like MRSA and C Diff, and we face tough targets due to our high performance at preventing infection and very low rates of infection overall. Staff will continue to do everything they can to fight infection.

“Being open and honest with our local community about how we care for their family and friends is important to us and part of that is being transparent about all aspects of our care, including our nurse staffing levels," he said.