Hospital acts to improve 
on mortality

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Just two months after Blackpool NHS staff came under fire following a review into high mortality rates, bosses claim they have come out fighting.

Following an in-depth review of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of the Professor Sir Bruce Keogh report into high mortality rates in July, it was handed a substantial action plan of things to improve.

Gary Doherty, chief executive, of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Gary Doherty, chief executive, of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Since then, the trust has implemented several measures and is on track to make the changes it needs to by the end of the year, it says.

Chief executive Gary Doherty said: “We have developed a 50-page action plan in response to the recommendations in the full Keogh review and, in our view, we have made good progress.”

The review highlighted a number of areas where the trust needs to improve, mostly around staff numbers and engagement, senior leaders being more available, simplifying the experiences of patients in hospital and focusing on what is really important.

Mr Doherty said: “We are trying to attract more nursing and consultant staff by looking at more international recruitment and looking at how we can make ourselves a more attractive place to work when compared to the major conurbations.

“We have done a lot of work in our clinical pathways, of which we have probably had too many that were too long and too complex. We have simplified them, and have staff going around the wards to make sure we are meeting them right here and right now.

“There is also work being done to bring the trust’s mortality score in line with the national average.”

The Keogh Review investigated 14 trusts which were found to have a high number of unexpected deaths for two successive years.

At Blackpool Victoria Hospital 2,409 patients died after treatment between 2010 and 2012 when only 1,900 deaths had been expected.

Speaking at the trust’s AGM on Monday, trust chairman Ian Johnson said: “It is very hard work having an investigation like that. We really need to keep improving, because we are determined not to have someone assigned to us and be told what to do.”