in region
over high death rate

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THREE hospitals in the region have again been singled out over higher-than-expected death rates.

New figures yesterday showed the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, had 332 more patient deaths than the average expected in 2011-12.

There were 2,266 deaths at its hospitals or within 30 days of discharge over the period according to Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) statistics. The trust is one of only 10 across the country with significantly above average death rates.

Across Yorkshire, Airedale NHS trust had the lowest death rate, with 112 fewer fatalities than expected. The York trust, which has now merged with Scarborough’s troubled NHS trust, had the second highest death rate although it has raised significant problems with its data.

Health chiefs last month published details of a review into the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole trust which made 40 recommendations for changes over concerns of nurse shortages as well as “shortcomings” in clinical practice which could be contributing to deaths. It also said managers had not given high death rates sufficient priority and had been slow to respond.

Hospital bosses say the impact of changes will not be reflected until late next year but say alternative measures of mortality already show improved performance

Medical director Liz Scott said work was under way within the trust and with GPs to “make sure that all possible factors are addressed”.

“The trust’s mortality task group is investigating every area where there is a possibility of a higher mortality ratio and is also reviewing every death within our hospitals to see if anything could have been done differently,” she said.

“We know we need to improve how we record the condition of our patients, something which will have a positive impact on our mortality rates. However, I remain confident that clinical safety in our hospitals remains high.”

Chief executive Karen Jackson said: “Mortality is the trust’s number one quality priority and patient safety is of the utmost importance to every member of staff.

“We implemented an intensive mortality rate improvement programme earlier this year and many of the tasks in our action plan have already been completed.”