Hospital defends record on deaths

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

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BLACKPOOL’S hospital bosses have hit back after a report dubbed the trust one of the worst in the country for death rates.

Health chiefs say significant improvements have been made on the issue and they say the Dr Foster figures – published yesterday – do not give a fair or accurate picture of mortality rates in the resort.

Dr Mark O'Donnell, new medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust

Dr Mark O'Donnell, new medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust

The way some patients’ conditions were being recorded has been partly blamed for the skewed statistics and bosses at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust say the numbers were also out-of-date.

The trust commissioned an independent review of death figures by The Advancing Quality Alliance (AQA), a North West healthcare improvement body, which concluded there were “no areas of clinical concern.”

The trust has appointed a dedicated mortality reduction lead and done work on the way patients’ conditions are recorded.

Dr Mark O’Donnell, medical director, said: “The AQA report we commissioned looked at a range of factors, which might explain high mortality rates and highlighted there were no areas of clinical concern. It reassured us there were no issues around the care we give our patients.

“We are committed to improving the outcomes for patients and the safety of our services and have drawn up a detailed action plan, which covers areas such as clinical leadership, the development of a specific mortality reduction plan and more work with primary care colleagues to improve end of life care planning.”

Hospital bosses have already had a recruitment drive to increase the doctor and nurse ratio per bed. Two extra emergency department consultants and two advanced practitioners have been recruited.

The action plan also proposes to extend seven day working for specialist nurses and start the process of scanning existing paper-based medical records to ensure patient case notes are available on demand.

Yesterday’s Dr Foster report, published annually, showed Blackpool’s hospitals had a disproportionate number of deaths in “lower” risk categories.

The report shows the Hospital Standardised Mortality Rates (HSMR), Dr Foster’s own measurement of people dying while in hospital care in Blackpool, was 114 people in the last year.

Meanwhile the Summary Hospital Mortality Index (SHMI), the Department of Health’s measurement of deaths after treatment in the resort, was 125.

But hospital bosses said some patients’ conditions recorded on admission may have put them in a lower risk category when further analysis actually showed they were seriously ill, which skewed the figures.

Click here to read how The Gazette broke the story:

HOSPITAL NAMED AMONG WORST 12

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