Following the recent report from the public inquiry into the failings at Stafford Hospital, a total of nine trusts and 14 individual hospitals in England are now being investigated for their higher than expected death rates. These rates are calculated by looking at the number of people who would be expected to die when taking into account the age and disease profile of the local population.
The nine trusts are North Cumbria University Hospitals, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, George Eliot Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, the Dudley Group, Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Medway and Burton Hospitals.
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, who will lead the investigation, said: "The purpose of my investigation is to assure patients, public and Parliament that these hospitals understand why they have a high mortality and receive all the support they need to improve. This will be a thorough and rigorous process, involving patients, clinicians, regulators and local organisations."
Philippa Luscombe, partner in Penningtons’ clinical negligence team, commented: “We have become increasingly aware in the last few years of trends in specific hospitals which seem to have a disproportionate number of similar problems in aspects of their healthcare provision. Whilst we see repeated errors and raise this with the hospitals, we have concerns that these trends are not being assessed fully and eradicated. Although the number of hospitals which will be involved in this investigation is alarming, it is good to see that the information available about outcomes is being considered. Hospitals that potentially are falling below acceptable standards of care will be properly investigated and recommendations made as with the Mid Staffordshire inquiry. We hope that this will lead to improvements in patient care and safety across all these hospitals.”