Hospital death rates ‘acceptable’

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A HEALTH watchdog’s investigation into death rates has concluded that Wigan’s hospitals are not a cause for concern.

Despite being on the fringe of higher than expected ratios in one of the mortality categories, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust was given an overall clean bill of health.

The report from National Health Service monitoring service, Dr Foster, concluded that WWL was within the recommended guidelines for the four criteria used to measure unacceptable death rate levels.

In the category of summary hospital-level mortality indicators (SHMI), which counts deaths in hospital or among patients discharged within the previous 30 days, WWL recorded a ratio of 106, placing it on the cusp of highlighting a level of concern.

However, the Foundation Trust rated more favourably in the deaths after surgery, deaths in low risk conditions and the summary hospital-level mortality indicators (SHMI) - which counts deaths among patients discharged within 30 days - categories.

A spokesperson for WWL, which includes Wrightington Hospital, Leigh Infirmary and the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, said that as their hospitals’ rates fell within the expected ranges they would have nothing to comment on the report.

Hospitals and Trusts that record higher than expected ratios in two of the four categories are said to have “worryingly high” mortality rates, the report stated.

The North West Foundation Trusts which were highlighted as having high mortality rates included Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Trafford Healthcare and North Cumbria University Hospitals.

The report said: “The four indicators Dr Foster uses are a warning sign of a risk that poor quality care may be leading to a high than expected mortality rate.

“They are not measures that show definitively poor quality care. Rather, they are a signal that further investigation should be carried out. High ratios would suggest underlying problems.