Death rate figures ‘above expected’

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CONCERNS have been raised over higher than expected death rates among patients treated by Scarborough health trust.

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Healthcare Trust is among only nine in England to be singled out in the latest figures analysing deaths in hospital and within 30 days of discharge from October 2010 to September 2011.

It is the first time Scarborough trust has been found to have higher death rates than expected using a new measure, which found there were 169 more deaths of patients than would have been expected among 1,175 fatalities over the period.

Other trusts in this region also had higher rates than expected.

These included Hull trust, which had 3,321 deaths in the 12 months, 466 more than expected, and the Northern Lincolnshire trust had 316 more than expected within their total of 2,285.

The figures have been published by the NHS Information Centre, which has previously raised concerns about the two organisations.

Fourteen NHS trusts across the country were ranked as having significantly fewer deaths than expected.

These included Airedale, Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Sheffield and South Tees trusts.

Karl Mainprize, interim medical director at Scarborough health trust, said: “Understanding and tackling patient safety continues to be our top priority.

“Since the time period reflected in this data (October 2010 to September 2011) we have been working with staff and patients on some extremely robust initiatives.

“We have also worked with the Care Quality Commission and Yorkshire and Humber Health Observatory to understand why our summary hospital-level mortality indicator is higher than we would like it to be.”

The summary hospital-level mortality indicator is the ratio between the actual number of patients who die following a treatment at the trust and the number that would be expected to die on the basis of average England figures, given the characteristics of the patients treated there.

It covers all deaths reported of patients who were admitted to acute, non-specialist trusts and either die while in hospital or within 30 days of discharge.

The figures for York trust, due to merge with Scarborough in July this year, fell within the expected range.

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