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Independents' Day

King's Fund risk tool will not fail to cut hospital admissions

Your piece entitled ‘Matrons will fail to cut admissions' grossly misrepresented my opinions and was not an accurate description of the Patients at Risk of Rehospitalisation tool (PARR).

Your reporter did not talk directly with me and words from an article in a past issue of the journal Chronic Illness were reproduced, out of context, and presented as quotes. This is disingenuous at best.

It was wrong to say that my latest analysis of PARR revealed the tool has ‘significant error rates'. PARR is, in fact, one of the most accurate predictive risk tools of its kind in the world, something your article wholly failed to communicate, and will therefore be a huge benefit to PCTs and community matrons who want to identify accurately and care for high-risk patients.

To present a piece that is essentially cut and pasted from an in-depth article I wrote for a peer-reviewed journal as news reporting is plain shoddy journalism. Especially as the resulting piece reflected the author's poor understanding of the subject matter far more than

it gave your readers a proper idea of the new PARR tool. I was participating in a conference and away from the office when your reporter attempted to contact me. The fact that more effort was not made to ensure your piece was accurate before going to print reflects very poorly on the standard of reporting in this magazine.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, director of policy, King's Fund

Editor's note

We're sorry Dr Dixon is unhappy with our reporting and acknowledge a couple of factual errors (see For the Record, below). But our reporter did make three separate calls to the King's Fund press office, which was unable to put up either Dr Dixon or any of her colleagues for interview, and this made it significantly more difficult than usual to achieve balance in the piece.

For the Record

In our article on the King's Fund's PARR risk tool (‘Matrons will fail to cut admissions'), we reported that a 20% reduction in emergency admissions would be needed to save the NHS money. In fact, the model found that use of PARR could be cost-effective at reductions in admissions below 20%, if different assumptions were used for the costs of intervention and benefits of preventing an admission. We also incorrectly attributed to the King's Fund the belief PARR might struggle to produce cost-effective reductions in admissions. This was in fact the view of commentator Professor Martin Roland, not the authors.

Pulse's priority is accuracy. However, in the busy process of preparing a weekly publication mistakes can occur. When they do, our policy is to correct them at the earliest opportunity. To draw our attention to a mistake, email, write to: Pulse, Ludgate House, 245 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 9UY, or fax 020 7921 8132.

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