Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre says it is reviewing the data from a hospital report card released by CBC News yesterday. 

The hospital scored a C, indicating it gets worse results overall than an average Canadian hospital of the same size.  The rating is based on five indicators measuring how well patients do after surgery or medical treatment.

One of the indicators shows the hospital has a higher numbers of patients dying after major surgery than some other large community hospitals in the country.

Executive vice-president for medical and academic affairs Dr. Stewart Kennedy said that's largely because patients in northwestern Ontario suffer poorer health than people in other regions.

"This is not new data.  We give these reports to [the Canadian Institute for Health Information] on an annual basis and even more than that," he said.

"In fact, we track more quality indicators all the time to improve our performance on a daily basis."

'Above-average service'

He said tracking this type of data helps ensure the best care.

Watch the fifth estate's special Rate My Hospital report on Friday at 9 p.m. (9:30 in Newfoundland).

"It's really quite reassuring to me that, at every senior management meeting we have, every week, we actually track quality indicators," Kennedy added.

"I'm very confident this hospital gives above-average service to its patients."

Thunder Bay’s hospital treats patients who are sicker, on average, he said.

"The acuity level that comes to our hospital and to teaching and academic hospitals is higher than community hospitals.

"When you look at the mortality after surgery, we are definitely increased ... because we treat sicker patients. When you look at our total mortality — over the general [hospital] population, we're under the national average."

Looking at only a few indicators doesn’t "explain the full story," he noted, adding the hospital’s rating on mortality after surgery was not a cause for being "upset."

"If I'm a patient coming to Thunder Bay Regional hospital who is quite sick, our surgeons, our staff here, are going to take risks [and]

do the best they can to try to save that patient," he said.

"I think we're giving the best care we can … Data helps drive decisions and … we're going to take a deeper look into the data and report to the public."