Health Trust defends death figures

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A new independent health report has found that some deaths of patients at the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust were higher than expected.

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2012/13, parts of which were released on Friday, revealed that deaths in hospital or within 30 days of discharge were higher than those purely in hospital.

The figure of 112 deaths relates to Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) rates, which records the number of patients who die while still in hospital.

However, the Trust scored as expected on a number of other mortality ratios.

A statement from the Trust, recently highlighted for a number of failings by the Keogh Report, said that the latest figures only covered up to March this year and that improvements have been made since.

Rineke Schram, Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Dr Foster report mainly contains information from earlier in the year that doesn’t reflect the many improvements we have made across East Lancashire Hospital Trust over the last six months to more consistently deliver care that is safe, personal and effective to all our patients and their families.

“The mortality figures quoted in the report are based on information up to March 2013 so do not reflect the range of improvements we have made this year where we have targeted our work towards those groups of patients that have the highest risk of death e.g. through stroke, acute renal failure, fractured neck of femur and alcohol-related liver disease problems. 

“We have a clear strategy on dealing with these by consistent use of clinical care bundles, which are a clear list of five or six evidence-based medical ‘must dos’ that have been proven to improve patient health outcomes. The most recent mortality figures suggest this strategy is beginning to work.”

Overall, the picture is improving as hospital mortality has fallen by 30% over the past decade.