Hospital death rates pass test

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DEATH rates at Sheffield’s hospitals are among the lowest in the country, according to new figures released by the Government.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - which runs five hospitals in the city - had the 11th best results of 147 trusts in England surveyed by the Department of Health.

The Government was using a new test to monitor mortality levels in hospitals across England, as well as those occurring within 30 days of discharge.

Sheffield’s hospitals - the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire, Weston Park, Jessop Wing maternity unit and Charles Clifford dental - performed much better than the average score of 100, achieving a mortality rate of 85.

Inspectors recorded just 3,589 deaths at the hospitals, compared to the 4,197 expected.

Mike Richmond, medical director for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are committed to giving our patients the best possible care. This independent report recognises the continued hard work of our staff to ensure we do everything possible to provide high quality care.”

The new test, called the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator, was developed at The University of Sheffield and used across the country.

The indicator is based on data collected from April 2010 to March 2011, measuring the expected number of deaths using a model accounting for age, gender, admission method and patients’ pre-existing conditions.

Hospitals elsewhere in South Yorkshire achieved scores close to the average expected level.

Rotherham had 1,456 deaths, compared to an expected 1,423 - giving a score of 102.

Barnsley had 1,409, compared to expected 1,325, a score of 106.

And in Doncaster and Bassetlaw inspectors observed 2,721 deaths, compared to an expected 2,667 - a score of 102.

The tests revealed 36 hospital trusts elsewhere in England had higher than expected death rates, putting them under pressure to investigate whether there are underlying problems in the quality of care provided.