One of UK’s three worst – but hospital bosses vow things are getting better

Director of nursing and quality at Blackpool Hospitals Trust Marie Thompson (below) said the trust is looking at ways to reduce patient falls.
Director of nursing and quality at Blackpool Hospitals Trust Marie Thompson (below) said the trust is looking at ways to reduce patient falls.
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More patients have died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital than expected for the second year in a row - just months after bosses were probed due to worryingly high mortality rates.

Research released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows the Trust behind the Vic is one of just three in the country where mortality rate remains “higher than expected”.

Between April 2012 and March this year, 54,500 NHS patients passed through the hospital and there were 2,427 deaths - far more than the 2,074 expected based on patients’ health when they were admitted.

It comes after Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was investigated earlier this year under the Keogh Review because of its high mortality rate.

One relative of a man who died at the hospital today slammed Government cuts for contributing to the figures and said performance at the hospital was still not good enough.

Trust bosses today pledged to reduce the figures and say the findings of the latest report show it is heading in the right direction.

The figure means the Blackpool Trust is one of just three, along with Colchester and Aintree, to have a high Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator value (SHMI) - the name given to the method used to measure deaths after treatment.

The data of recorded deaths compared to expected deaths is compared with 142 health trusts in England to create a national SHMI average of 100.

Anything higher than 100 is a higher-than-expected mortality rate.

The HSCIC data has been compiled using a different method, and so a SHMI average is not available.

The trust’s chief executive, Gary Doherty, said: “The latest national figures show that we have successfully reduced our SHMI from 125 at March 2012 to 117 at March 2013.

“This has been achieved through a comprehensive plan to improve and invest in the quality of our services, which was positively reflected in the recent review of the Trust by Sir Bruce Keogh.”

Health chiefs say their own latest data shows there were 144 deaths in September this year compared to an expectation of 158 deaths – 14 fewer deaths. An action plan has been launched to improve mortality rates.

Yet one grieving widow says the progress is still not good enough, and believes more needs to be done at government level to improve NHS services.

Lucia Frankitt’s husband, Kevin Frankitt-Meek died of an infection after a routine operation on his throat in March 2009. The Vic admitted its care had fallen below standards.

Mrs Frankitt, of Layton, (above), said: “The latest figures do not surprise me at all.

“The nurses are so stressed because of all the paperwork and added responsibility they have. These cuts to the NHS are not working at all, and they are leading to failing care and people losing their lives.

“It’s a shame. It’s heartbreaking and it’s tragic.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “These figures comparing 2012 and 2013 seem to show a direction of improvement which should be cautiously welcomed, particularly if that trend has been improved in the last six months.

“However, I don’t think there is cause for complacency at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which should rigorously maintain all the initiatives which it believes have driven up these improvements so that they do not fall back and cause further concern with the Keogh review over the winter period.”

The new figures come after it was announced in February that Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of 14 trusts to be investigated by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh because of its higher-than-expected mortality rate between 2010 and 2012.

The inquiry found a “potentially unsafe” level of nursing staff and a lack of out of hours staff.

It also 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 on track to deliver our agreed action plans and our local calculations show that we have continued to improve. We expect our yearly rolling SHMI figure to reduce to within the expected range by April 2014.”

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