High mortality rates prompts "special measures" for hospital trusts
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Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Health announced that eleven hospital trusts were to be put into special measures following Professor Sir Bruce Keogh's mortality review.
The review found that thousands more deaths occurred at fourteen hospital trusts than expected. The hospital trusts named include Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where there were seven 'never events' in three years and concerns over infection control and overnight staffing levels. Recommendations have been made by the review and the progress of the trusts in implementing these will be closely monitored.
Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust was another trust that was highlighted by the review, however it was concluded that the recent management changes should be able to deliver the improvements required. The review suggested that the causes of high mortality are less about a rogue surgeon or problems in a surgical speciality but more to do with a combination of problems in A&E departments, the treatment and care of elderly patients and staffing levels and training.
Worryingly few of the hospital trusts understood the reasons for the high mortality and often questioned the data reported on their trusts. It is somewhat reassuring to note that the progress of these trusts in following the review's recommendations will be closely monitored and the new chief inspector of hospital's priority will be inspecting these trusts. Nevertheless, the failings in these trust should never have been able to continue for so long without any remedial action being taken.
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