Death rates improve at hospitals trust

DEATH rates following treatment at an under-fire NHS trust have improved again, latest figures reveal.

The Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, was put into special measures last year amid concerns over higher-than-expected mortality and other problems.

But the latest Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator statistics for the 12 months to June show death rates in the hospitals and for 30 days after discharge remains in the “as expected” range alongside all other NHS trusts in the region.

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Trust chief executive Karen Jackson said: “I’m very pleased to see that the mortality rate is continuing to improve. I hope patients are assured that their local hospital is a safe place to be treated and our staff are working hard to ensure they receive good quality care with us.”

Nationally, six NHS trusts have persistently high death rates –the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Wye Valley NHS Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. A further 12 have death rates that are below expected levels, all but one in London.

Mike Durkin, director of patient safety at NHS England, said: “A higher-than-expected mortality rate shown by this indicator does not in itself tell us that a hospital is unsafe. It is, however, a warning light and a signal to the trusts that they should immediately investigate further to identify the reasons for the high mortality rate and resolve any associated quality issues that may have contributed.”

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission yesterday said improvements are being made at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield following criticism of care of the elderly on four wards and in a discharge unit. It has now lifted a warning notice although problems remain with the standard of record-keeping and work is still required to improve dementia care.