High death rates at Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust prompts investigation
A HEALTH trust which runs two hospitals in Notts is to be investigated because of high death rates, it was revealed yesterday.
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh announced that Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust would be investigated.
His decision to look into the trust – which runs King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield and Newark Hospital – comes in the wake of the damning report on the NHS over its handling of the Stafford Hospital scandal.
That report heavily criticised the current system of regulation and monitoring within the NHS – and five trusts were immediately named to be investigated.
But yesterday Sir Bruce added a further nine – one of which was Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust.
He said: "The purpose of my investigation is to assure patients, public and Parliament that these hospitals understand why they have a high mortality and have all the support they need to improve.
"This will be a thorough and rigorous process, involving patients, clinicians, regulators and local organisations."
Death rates are calculated by looking at the number of people expected to die when taking into account the age and disease profile of the local population.
The Dr Foster Hospital Guide, which examines death rates at hospitals, claimed in December the number of people who died in hospital care was "higher than expected" in hospitals run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals.
The guide found that, for every 100 people they would expect to die, 113 died in Sherwood Forest hospitals. While not necessarily proof there is a problem, the findings are a indicator suggesting there could be.
Chief executive Eric Morton said: "The quality and safety of our services is paramount and I welcome any external review that helps us to further improve our services at a swifter pace.
"Our most up-to-date information, using a range of measures, demonstrates that the improvements we have made to date have begun to have a positive impact on our mortality rates.
"Patients should be reassured that we are an organisation which strives to continuously improve."
The eight other trusts which were named yesterday for investigation are: North Cumbria University Hospitals, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, George Eliot Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, the Dudley Group, Medway and Burton Hospitals.
The first five organisations named for investigation were: Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust; Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
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