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Report shows NHS Mortality Rates Improve but several hospitals still fall short.

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An independent report on the performance of NHS Trusts in the UK has found an overall improvement but standards in several hospitals are still too low.

The annual report conducted by research organisation Dr Foster looked at the performance of 147 trusts and found an overall improvement in most. But worryingly 19 of those analysed were found to have higher than expected death rates – hundreds could be dying unnecessarily due to sub-standard care.

The findings are published each year in the Dr Foster Hospital Guide. The latest survey studied the period 2009/10 and identified four hospitals with particular cause for concern: Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

The Local NHS Picture

Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust - quality report 2009/10

Overall mortality rate: Below expected

In its summary the report said: “The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has improved its patient safety record and has reduced its hospital mortality rate significantly compared to last year’s figures (for 2009/10).

“According to Dr Foster Intelligence, in 2009/10 the Trust’s Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) did not improve in relation to similar hospitals (its peer group of NHS Trusts). However, since last year, the Trust has taken further and proactive steps to improve its mortality ratio.”

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - quality report 2009/10

Overall mortality rate: In line with expected

Medical Director and O&G Consultant Tariq Mahmood said: “We were delighted to hear that the HSMR for Tameside has improved from 119 to 104. This has been achieved by the development and systematic application of a detailed mortality action plan with the full support of the Trust Executive, the endorsement of the Board and the involvement of clinical and managerial staff.”

Roger Taylor, Director of Research at Dr Foster, referred to the overall improvements saying: “Safety standards are improving, mortality rates are falling and the variation between the  best and worst (trusts) is getting less.”

However, The Observer newspaper reported that the research found tens of thousands of patients were being harmed in hospital every year when they developed avoidable blood clots, suffered obstetric tears during childbirth, accidental lacerations or puncture wounds, or post-surgery intestinal bleeding and blood poisoning.”

In the intervening time, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the NHS would learn lessons from the report. He told The Observer “In particular the Guide highlights high levels of ‘adverse medical events’, the widespread under-reporting if incidents and too many hospitals with death rates higher than one would expect.”

The hospital guide is published in full on the Dr Foster website.

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