More ‘work’ to be done to improve mortality rates

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WORK is underway to improve hospital mortality rates, but an Isle councillor has warned against reliance on targets alone.

Further improvements are still necessary in hospitals, say health watchdogs.

Members of the North Lincolnshire Council’s health scrutiny panel, that includes two Isle councillors, have studied the Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator Action Plan, in a bid to monitor progress at hospitals including Scunthorpe.

The report is linked to incentives being made to improve hospital processes and change clinical behaviour. It is particularly important in light of the hospital trust being identified as having higher than expected patient death rates, in the Dr Foster Hospital Guide last year.

Scrutiny chairman Coun Jean Bromby said: “The panel takes this very seriously. We have been determined to look at this for some time.”

The report, prepared by the NHS’ North Lincs Clinical Commissioning Group, rates its areas on a traffic light system, with green showing best progress, and red for areas that are lacking.

Panel members acknowledged many ‘green’ or satisfactory ratings, which, said council official Dean Gillon, gave hope for the future. But Isle councillors warned against complacency.

Coun William Eckhardt, of Axholme South, was concerned about reliance on targets. He said: “I am not very fond of targets. Unless action is clearly taken, a target is useless.”

He said he had been appalled, on a recent hospital visit, by a lack of communication to a patient. He also failed to see why patients repeatedly need to be asked for medical histories by different people.