THE Royal Bolton may not be being “open and honest” about the number of safety incidents at the hospital, a new government review claims.

The hospital has been ranked “among the worst” for open and honest reporting, according to new safety data released yesterday.

This means the hospital is not registering the expected number of safety incidents, and the review suggests this means it could be covering up mistakes.

The Royal Bolton is among 29 hospital trusts which have failed to register the expected number of safety incidents.

Heather Edwards, head of communications at the hospital, said: “We were already aware that we were reporting fewer safety incidents than other trusts of comparable size and have been working to look into and address this.

“The trust is committed to the Speak out Safely campaign to encourage every member of staff to feel they can raise concerns and those concerns will be acted upon.

“We are revamping our incident reporting processes and ensuring there is feedback and learning from incidents.”

The “honest and open” reporting category was based on the under-reporting of patient safety incidents and the under-reporting of incidents leading to death or severe harm.

Also included were the under-reporting of accidents which resulted in no harm and how staff feel the trust responds to safety incidents.

The new safety tool was launched by the Department of Health and NHS England to enable the public to see how well their hospital is performing on safety measures.

The study showed that the Royal Bolton meets 97 per cent of its planned staffing needs, but it is among the worst for “staff recommendation”.

Just over half of staff — or 57 per cent — would recommend the standard of care to relatives or friends.

More than 140 trusts have been given a rating for their reporting culture — and Bolton falls into the 20.6 per cent rated as poor.

Only 17.7 per cent nationally were deemed to be good with 61.7 per cent achieving a satisfactory rating.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The NHS is leading the world in achieving new safety standards but the battle to reduce avoidable harm is constant.

“Unsafe care causes immeasurable harm to patients and their families, and also costs the NHS millions in litigation claims.”

In addition to launching the website, Mr Hunt is starting the Sign Up To Safety campaign, which calls on trusts to outline how they will reduce avoidable harm and save lives.