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Hospital death rates highlighted

Sixteen NHS trusts in England have higher than expected death rates, while some score poorly on at least two indicators relating to patient death, according to a major report.

The guide, from health statistics firm Dr Foster, showed 16 hospital trusts had higher than expected death rates among patients in hospital, down from 20 the previous year.

But analysis showed 13 hospital trusts scored poorly on at least two out of four main indicators relating to patient death.

The indicators included a standard measure of in-hospital deaths, deaths within 30 days of the patient leaving hospital, deaths after surgery and deaths among people with low-risk conditions who would normally survive.

Of these 13 trusts, five were investigated earlier in the year by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh over concerns about their standards of care.

They were Blackpool, Medway, North Cumbria, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, and United Lincolnshire hospital trusts. In today's analysis, Blackpool had higher than expected death rates across three out of the four indicators.

Overall, today's report showed that 28 trusts had lower than expected in-hospital death rates. Furthermore, more trusts scored low on two or more of the death rate indicators than scored highly.

Using all key measures, the data also showed that 10 hospital trusts have one or more hospital sites with a death rate higher than the overall trust level.

The number of people who died in hospital in England and Wales in 2012/13 was also higher than in the previous year but lower than 2010/11.

Some 237,100 patients died in hospital in 2012/13, 4,400 more than in 2011/12 but 5,300 fewer than 2010/11.

Dr Foster director of research Roger Taylor said: "These findings reveal overall that while the number of people who are dying in hospital has risen slightly since last year it is still a much more improved picture than in the 10 years previous.

'This year, following the inquiry in Mid Staffordshire, the NHS has renewed its efforts to tackle avoidable mortality resulting from failures in healthcare.

"Hospital level mortality indicators can provide vital insights into where problems are worst.

"They also help us to monitor the extent to which outcomes for patients are improving. We are pleased that there are fewer hospitals with outlying high mortality rates this year compared to last."

Dr Foster awarded four "trust of the year" awards for good performance.

One went to Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London, which scored lower than expected on all death rate measures and also had the best performance of any trust in England.

In the north, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust had lower than expected death rates across two indicators, as did West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

In the south, Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey had lower than expected death rates across three indicators.


From Belfast Telegraph