Is our hospital trust doing enough to tackle high mortality rates?
In a special report following the publication of new mortality figures, Health Reporter KATIE BLACKBURN talks to key NHS bosses. She also speaks to concerned parents, who have filed an official complaint following the death of their 27-year-old daughter, saying: "As parents we could see her health deteriorating but it was frustrating no one was doing anything about it."
A SECOND report has named the trust that runs Grimsby's hospital as one of the worst in the country for its higher-than-average mortality figures.
The Dr Foster annual hospital guide, released yesterday, shows Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, United Lincolnshire and the Hull and East Yorkshire trusts were among 12 in England named as having higher than expected death rates among patients.
They were all "doing badly" in at least two of four key measures of mortality, the private research group said.
All three trusts said they had more work to do to improve rates.
The Dr Foster report uses four different measures, including deaths after surgery and among those with low-risk conditions, to help assess which hospitals are falling outside of what would be expected.
"These measures are to be used as a warning sign of a risk that poor quality care may be leading to a higher than expected mortality," the Dr Foster report said.
A spokesman for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust said: "Mortality is the trust's number one quality priority and patient safety is of the utmost importance to every member of staff.
"The trust's higher-than-expected mortality rates are an issue for the whole health community and we are working hard... to make sure that all possible factors are addressed."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said local managers in those areas should investigate.
However, Karen Jackson, chief executive at NLAG, and other NHS officials, say they are currently working through recommendations of their own and that of a Transforming Health Ltd review, to improve upon this – actions which are already seeing better results.
As reported, a Summary Hospital Level Mortality Indicator (SHMI), used to calculate the number of expected deaths during a financial year, currently shows figures for the Trust, which according to health professionals, are out of date by at least six to 18 months.
Instead staff monitor their mortality rates on a monthly basis using a Risk Adjusted Mortality Index (RAMI). The aim with this indicator is for the Trust to achieve a score of 100 or below to be deemed on track with their mortality rates.
Latest figures for Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, show that between November 2011 and October 2012, the RAMI figure is at 95, an improvement from 123 at the same time last year.
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THE parents of a 27-year-old – who filed a complaint about the delayed treatment their daughter received in hospital prior to her death – have spoken out in the wake of damning mortality figures.
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust is working hard to improve standards of its three hospitals in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, after bosses openly admitted in September, that they were one of the worst across the UK for higher than average mortality rates, as reported.
Recent figures – which hospital bosses claim are not a clear representation of their current state as they are at least six to 18 months old – reveal 292 more deaths than expected occurred between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012, according to the NHS Information Centre.
However this announcement comes as no surprise to the parents of Sarah Hayworth, who died in September 2010.
Sarah, who had Down's Syndrome, was admitted to Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales Hospital on September 1, after being referred there by her GP with chest and breathing problems.
Her dad, Adrian Hayworth, recalls how his daughter was stabilised on antibiotics for two weeks, before a junior doctor examined her and requested that a cardiologist took a second look.
Apparently this was on Friday, September 10, 2010, but it took a whole week until someone from the cardiac unit eventually turned up, he claims.
Mr Hayworth, 58, said: "As parents we could see her health deteriorating but it was frustrating no one was doing anything about it.
"On Wednesday, September 15, I went to the cardiology unit myself to ask if someone was coming to see Sarah.
"She was born with a hole in her heart and in the past had suffered with pneumonia, so a red flag should have alerted medics as soon as she was admitted with breathing issues.
"I even requested for her to be transferred to Scunthorpe General Hospital because nothing was happening.
"Finally a cardiology consultant turned up on Friday, September 17 and we could see immediately on his face he was worried."
Sarah was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where she stayed for five days receiving treatment and was kept under close observation.
Mr Hayworth, of Grimsby, said: "We could not fault the staff here, they gave her constant one-on-one care.
"Unfortunately, Sarah's health continued to deteriorate and she was transferred to Leeds General Hospital.
"However, 48 hours later she died, on September 26, 2010."
Confused about what went so wrong, Sarah's parents filed a formal complaint to the hospital's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
Mr Hayworth has since had a meeting with the consultant and cardiologist who treated Sarah in Grimsby, but says he was given no clear answers so left the case open.
As reported, following a Transforming Health Ltd review into the higher than average mortality rates across the Trust, 40 recommendations were made in a bid to tackle the issue.
Mr Hayworth, said: "How have they come up with 40 recommendations? Are things really that bad?
"In my eyes five recommendations would be excessive, especially when it concerns a service that deals with life or death situations.
"Sarah went into hospital with chest and breathing problems, three weeks later she died unexpectedly, we just can not get our heads around it."
Sarah's mum Susan Hayworth, 56, described her daughter as a beautiful woman who never asked for much.
She said: "You always become a lot closer to a Down's Syndrome child because you do so much for them.
"I would wash, dress and look after Sarah constantly.
"You put your complete faith in a hospital believing it is a safe place to be. Here I really feel Sarah was let down."
Wendy Booth, director of clinical and quality assurance, said: "Mr Hayworth has made a formal complaint to the Trust, which has been subject to a thorough investigation.
"We responded to Mr Hayworth on completion of our investigation and we have also met with him to discuss his concerns."