Death rates after bowel cancer ‘alarming’

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A SOUTH Yorkshire MP has written to his local hospital with concerns after a study revealed its death rates following bowel cancer operations were well above the national average.

Rotherham MP Denis MacShane has written to Brian James, chief executive of Rotherham District General Hospital, calling for a full inquiry following the “alarming” findings by the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

The study showed 10.4 per cent of Rotherham patients died within a month of bowel cancer surgery, compared to 6.7 per cent nationally, between 1998 and 2006.

Mr MacShane said: “I hope we can see a full inquiry to get up-to-date figures and it is important all cancer surgeons publish their results so we can see each year where hospitals are under-performing and take measures to bring standards up to the best.”

Professor Al-Wali, medical director at the trust, said more recent figures showed the hospital’s 30-day post operative mortality rates had “significantly improved” in the period from 2006 to 2008.

The mortality rate at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust meanwhile was the lowest in the region, at 5.6 per cent. David Throssell, the Trust’s deputy medical director, said: “The results are a testament to the skilled health professionals.”