16 Jul 2013

NHS braced for hospital deaths report

A report into serious hospital failures that reports suggest may have caused 13,000 needless deaths at 14 health trusts, is expected to say that the Mid-Staffs scandal was not a one-off.

NHS braced for hospital deaths report (G)

NHS England Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is expected to describe poor care, medical errors and management blunders at 14 trusts investigated over high mortality rates.

Researchers said that death rates were deemed to be “higher than expected” at eight of the trusts and “as expected” at the other six of the trusts.

Leaked reports suggest that the damning report will reveal 13,000 needless deaths across 14 trusts.

There is also a suggestion that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will send “hit squads” into 10 of the trusts.

Prime Minister David Cameron commissioned the investigation into the 14 other trusts because of their high mortality rates in February, following the Francis report into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust, where as many as 1,200 patients may have died needlessly.


Ministers have said that if a hospital is deemed to be failing, the chief inspector of hospitals could initiate a failure regime in which the board could be suspended or the hospital put into administration.

Mr Cameron’s official spokesman indicated that hospital board members could be suspended following care failings.

“Clearly there have been examples where patients and families have not received the high quality, compassionate care that it so important,” David Cameron’s spokesman said.

“I think it is important that we have a culture of accountability in our public services, very much including the NHS.

“One of the things the prime minister said in response to the Francis inquiry is that a single failure regime would be set up whereby the suspensions of boards can be triggered by failures in care.”

Nine of the trusts being investigated have been “outliers” on the hospital standardised mortality ratio (HSMR) for two years running and the other five were identified by the summary hospital-level mortality indicator (SHMI) as having higher than expected death rates.

The 14 hospital trusts listed in the report:
Basildon and Thurrock in Essex
United Lincolnshire
Blackpool, Lancashire
The Dudley Group, West Midlands
George Eliot, Warwickshire
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole
Tameside, Greater Manchester
Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Colchester, Essex
Medway, Kent
Burton, Staffordshire
North Cumbria
East Lancashire
Buckinghamshire Healthcare