Death rates are high

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AN EXTRA 100 patients died in Wigan’s hospitals above the number expected by medics last year, latest figures reveal.

A report released by the NHS Information Centre shows that, in 2011, Wigan Hospitals Trust saw 47,223 cases admitted, of which 1,661 ended in a fatality.

Based on intake, the borough’s medical issues and types of services provided in local hospitals, the expected number of deaths was 1,575. This means the mortality rate was 5.4 per cent higher than predicted.

However, while this may seem alarming, the figures are still within the expected range.

The report uses the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI), which is the ratio between the actual number of patients who die following treatment at a hospital trust and the number that would be expected to die on the basis of average England figures, given the characteristics of the patients treated there.

Martin Farrier, a consultant paediatrician at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), said: “WWL is disappointed to note that our SHMI measures are not as good as we strive for. However, SHMI is a new way of measuring mortality, which may need more refinement. The traditional and more commonly-quoted measure is HSMR, and we are very pleased to note that our HSMR is 88.8 for the last 12 months, with the average being 100.

“Over the last five years, WWL has done lot of work to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients, and this has reduced our HSMR.

“Today we have an excellent HSMR. It is our intention to work with Dr Foster, who calculate the SHMI, and try to understand the reasons why our SHMI is higher than expected when HSMR data indicates otherwise.

“Our local population should be assured that WWL is performing well, and we provide good quality care. We give top priority to patient safety, quality and patient experience and, over the years, we have done a lot of work to improve our services.

“Our A&E performance, low HSMR, low infection rates and many other measures, should reassure our patients that we provide good quality care, and our aim is to keep on improving the quality or care we provide to our patients.”