Hospitals' death rate higher than the norm
ALMOST 300 more people than "expected" died during or shortly after being treated in hospitals managed by the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust in one year.
As reported, the first phase of a Transforming Health Ltd review, highlighted that the trust – which manages hospitals in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole – had one of the highest mortality rates in the UK.
Today we can reveal that the latest statistics available from the Department Of Health show 292 more deaths than expected occurred between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011.
A Summary Hospital Level Mortality Indicator, (SHMI), which is used to calculate the number of expected deaths, predicted there to have been 1,976 deaths during this time; the actual number was 2,268.
As reported, the review – led by Stephen Ramsden, a former NHS Chief Executive Officer and director of the national Patients Safety First Campaign – made 40 recommendations to try and tackle the issue.
One included "urgently reviewing nurse staffing levels", a comment which has sparked a great deal of debate among readers.
One comment posted on www.thisisgrimsby.uk by Darkwitch, said: "My experience of the hospital is that the nurses I've come into contact with have no compassion and definitely should not be in a caring profession.
"I have seen them standing around the nurses' station eating, chatting etc anything but working.
"They have been rude and neglected to my relatives.
"Our complaint resulted in lots of recommendations and improvements to be made, because charts were not filled in properly, equipment wasn't checked.. the list goes on."
However, others said they had been "delighted" with the clinical care they had received.
Bizarre57 said: "My experience of five stays in Grimsby Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital over the past year are quite the opposite of the picture you have painted: extremely caring, professional medical staff, which includes nurses, HCAs, doctors and surgeons.
"Far from "nattering" all day, the nursing staff create a relaxed, caring atmosphere during what is, for most people, an extremely stressful time."
Officials at the trust stressed that many of the 40 recommendations made have already been addressed, and chief nurse Karen Dunderdale also made it clear that staffing levels were safe and that systems were currently in place to improve the care already provided.
Dr Liz Scott, medical director at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Mortality measures are subject to many factors, some of which are within our control and some of which are not.
"Their purpose is for us to monitor progress over time to make sure we do all we can to provide the highest quality of care.
"The Trust has set up a Mortality Task Group, which is investigating every area where there is possibility of a higher mortality ratio.
"It is also reviewing every death that occurs to see if anything could have been done differently."