A Bucks NHS Trust Faces Death Rates Investigation

11 February 2013, 16:16 | Updated: 11 February 2013, 16:28

Death rates at another nine hospital trusts - including one in Buckinghamshire - are to be investigated.

The NHS Commissioning Board's announced the inquiries this afternoon (Mon 11th Feb, 2013), on top of five trusts put under investigation last week.

It's in reaction to the report into deaths at Stafford Hospital, where hundreds of people may have died as a result of neglect and abuse.

The Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust - which has responsibility for the Stoke Mandeville Hospital (along with Amersham Hospital, Buckingham Community Hospital, Chalfont and Gerrards Cross Community Hospital, Marlow Community Hospital, Thame Community Hospital and Wycombe Hospital) has been named alongside trusts in Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands to be investigated.

In a statement to Heart, the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust says it takes patient safety: "Very seriously and has welcomed today's announcement that Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, has widened its review into hospital mortality indicators.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare has recorded higher than average Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) over the past two years and has focussed its efforts to understand why. Action plans have been put in place and we have seen an improvement in our mortality indicators year-on-year as a result. This has included our doctors reviewing deceased patient notes on a monthly basis and the establishment of a mortality task force, which looks at patient care, the patient experience and clinical coding."

Lynne Swiatczak, Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Care Standards, told Heart: "Our regular detailed reviews of patient case notes and mortality data has not identified any areas of concern with patient care, but our task force and Trust Board continues to look in-depth at this issue. As a provider of a wide range of services including acute care, five community hospitals, and a hospice, we have also been working with independent experts to understand how this may impact on our HSMR. We welcome the approach being taken by Sir Bruce's review, in particular the additional support and assurance it will provide to, and build upon, our own work. We will ensure this review is given our full support."

Chief Nurse Swiatczak added: "Buckinghamshire Healthcare has a good record for patient care and quality. It has one of the lowest infection rates in the country, with no cases of MRSA bacteraemia over the past 12 months. Its stroke service has been recently rated in the top 10% of trusts in the country. In the past two years we have seen improvements in our mortality rates, which were at 118 in 2009/10 but have fallen to 109 in 2011/12."