A NEW report says Blackpool’s hospital is one of the worst in the country for alarmingly high death rates.
But health chiefs today hit out at the figures, which put The Vic among the worst 12 centres nationally.
Bosses at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust claim figures in the latest Dr Foster report are out-of-date and not a true picture of the situation.
According to Dr Foster’s figures, Blackpool’s hospitals had a disproportionate number of deaths in the “lower” risk categories.
But hospital chiefs claim there has been significant improvement in death rates, which have fallen below the national average and are now at their lowest levels ever.
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 the trust says those two ways of measuring do not take into account deprivation, putting Blackpool at a disadvantage.
The HSMR measures whether the death rate at a hospital is higher or lower than would be expected, based on deaths across certain conditions, while SHMI takes into account all illnesses.
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.
Dr Mark O’Donnell, medical director, said: “A patient’s admission code may reflect their breathlessness – a symptom, rather than a true underlying diagnosis of lung cancer – making the patient appear low risk. This was making the mortality figures look worse than the reality. We have done work to address this issue and a dedicated mortality reduction lead has been appointed.”
NHS chiefs said work done to improve patient care has also included a recruitment drive to increase doctor and nurse per bed ratios.
The latest figures given to The Gazette by the hospital trust show in August this year, its HSMR figures was 99 people compared to a national average of 100 – down from 124 the year before.
It had 96.54 deaths compared to a national average of 100 in the SHMI – down from 131.18.