Vic reaches a new low in death rates

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Mortality rates at Blackpool Victoria Hospital are at their lowest since 2011, when official records began.

It comes a year after the Trust behind the Vic was inspected by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh for its higher-than-average death rates but it escaped being placed in special measures.

Instead, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was given a list of changes it must make to improve the quality of care, including staffing levels and training.

And today The Gazette can reveal the Trust has made significant improvements in its mortality rates, which takes social factors including smoking and drinking into account.

The rates have been calculated using Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator figures (SHMI), which are used to record deaths after treatment.

Before the Keogh review, the Trust had an SHMI of 125 in April 2012, and in May it had dropped to 108.7. The 12 month average for the Trust is 110.1.

While a national rate of 100 is considered an SHMI average, a Trust of Blackpool’s size is expected to have a mortality rate of less than 111 over 12 months.

Chief executive Gary Doherty told The Gazette: “Achieving these figures gives people like the Care Quality Commission (CQC), local GPs and patients the confidence that when we say we are going to do something, we will do it.

“These are the best SHMI results we’ve ever had, and it’s something people should be proud of. We have done a lot of work around our care pathways, especially around pneumonia and sepsis, and we’ve made a huge investment, which is continuing, in our staffing levels.

“But what’s more important, and what both Keogh and the CQC found, is that when you talk to staff they will tell you that things are getting better.”