Hospital bosses have today welcomed new figures that show the death rate is falling on the Fylde coast.
The trust that runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital has had a “higher than expected” number of patient deaths in recent years, according to data published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said its efforts to bring down the death rate were working.
Medical director of the Trust, Professor Mark O’Donnell said: “The levels of care and commitment at the Trust are exceedingly high and patient safety is our number one priority.”
The summary hospital mortality index (SHMI) measures the number of the deaths which actually occur compared with those expected for a given population.
In Blackpool, that figure has fallen from 120 last year to 116. Anything above 111 is classed as “higher than expected”.
The figures cover patients who die in hospital or within 30 days of being discharged. They do not measure preventable deaths.
Prof O’Donnell added: “I believe we have massive strengths, which have helped us make real progress over the last few years and we are committed to making further improvements to enhance our patient care.”
The Trust highlighted “intensive work by clinicians and other staff” to put in place a series of measures to help cut avoidable hospital deaths.
They include signing up to a national patient safety scheme and introducing new “patient pathways” which set out the standard of care given to those whose health is deteriorating.
The latest HSCIC figures show there are 16 trusts classed as having a higher than expected SHMI.
In its report, HSCIC said: “A ‘higher than expected’ SHMI should not immediately be interpreted as indicating bad performance and instead should be viewed as a ‘smoke alarm’ which requires further investigation by the trust.”
Of the deaths recorded for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between April 2014 and March, 18 per cent were patients who had been treated with palliative care, typically used in cases of terminal illness.