Death rates at Bucks hospitals ‘higher than expected’

DEATH rates at Buckinghamshire hospitals are ‘higher than expected’ according to independent researchers.

But NHS bosses say the figures are going down and partly blame the administrative system that they use.

Research company Dr Foster compared deaths rates in weekdays and weekends in all hospitals, and worryingly found that some deaths could have been avoided if patients were taken to hospital during the week.

Dr Foster also looked at overall performance, and found that one in four trusts, including Bucks, had higher death rates than expected.

In response, a spokesman for Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Patient safety is our first priority and we constantly monitor our mortality data. “We can reassure the public that our underlying mortality rates are not high and, through regular reviews of clinical records, we are confident in the care we provide to our patients.

“We are pleased to see that our mortality ratio has significantly decreased over the past year.

“This followed a review of our mortality data which identified that our data was inaccurate due to the fact that we were not coding as many co-morbidities – other serious conditions a patient may have – as other trusts and our use of the palliative care code for end-of-life care was low – meaning a number of cases were counted that should not have been – both of which significantly affected our mortality ratio.

“We are pleased to have made improvements in both of these areas.

“Although the Department of Health’s summary hospital-level mortality indicator is now the main measure for mortality, we have also continued to monitor our data through Dr Foster for the past year and been pleased to see that they are reporting us as being within national confidence levels.”