Fourteen trusts identified with high death rates
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Friday 28 October 2011
Fourteen NHS Trusts were identified yesterday with higher than expected death rates. But Barking, Havering and Redbridge was not among them – its mortality rate was better than average.
A new measure, called a Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI), is intended to provide an "early trigger to probe potential problems" with the quality of care, according to the Department of Health.
But its limitation was immediately exposed by its failure to highlight the shortcomings at the Barking trust. Officials stressed it was only one indicator and could not reveal all the problems in the NHS.
The new measure monitors deaths in hospital as well as those within 30 days of discharge and is said to be more accurate.
It was developed after the scandal exposed at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in 2009, where between 400 and 1,200 excess deaths were not picked up.
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