Backing for probe into death rates at hospital

Andrew Percy MP
Andrew Percy MP

A GOVERNMENT probe into ‘unacceptable’ death rates at the main hospital trust which treats Isle residents has been welcomed by the area’s MP.

Scunthorpe General Hospital is to be included in a probe by Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, following the death-rates scandal at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust.

The investigation will focus on North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, after a review last year revealed it had one of the highest mortality rates in the country.

Isle MP Andrew Percy, a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, has welcomed the investigation.

He said: “Mortality rates have been too high and that is unacceptable. People pay their taxes and they deserve more.

“If a relative is in hospital and there is any decline in their condition, they can expect staff to deal with this effectively. In some cases it appears this hasn’t happened.”

The probe follows a report last September by Transforming Health Ltd on behalf of the North and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups. It raised concerns about problems with poor toilet facilities, a lack of help with washing and bedding not being changed.

In December, the Dr Foster Hospital Guide ruled the trust fell short on two of four mortality rate indicators.

The trust said there were 772 deaths at Scunthorpe General Hospital between November 2010 and October 2011. But this figure dropped to 705 from November 2011 to October 2012 after a 40 point improvement plan was implemented.

The trust is one of nine across the UK which have been outliers for two years on the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio.

Sir Bruce said: “If there were concerns that services were unsafe the regulators should have intervened.

“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.”

Karen Jackson, the trust’s chief executive, said: “We very much welcome the chance to be part of Sir Bruce Keogh’s review as it will assist us with all the work we have already done to improve our mortality position. Sir Bruce has stressed that this is not an inspection but an improvement exercise.”

Medical director Liz Scott added: “The trust’s intensive mortality rate improvement programme is now having a positive impact. We are pleased to have this chance to learn from others through the Keogh review.”