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NHS CB launch immediate inquiry into five hospitals

8th February 2013

Five hospitals which have returned concerning mortality figures are to be investigated.

The NHS Commissioning Board wants an immediate inquiry into the hospitals as they have shown up as ‘outliers’ on the current mortality indicator for the NHS.

The hospitals concerned are: Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust; Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and East Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust.

The probe comes in response to Robert Francis QC’s report into the scandal over care standards at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

NHS CB medical director Sir Bruce Keogh will conduct the investigation into the five hospitals, which have been outliers on the Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) for two years.

The SHMI system arose out of an earlier investigation into the events in the Staffordshire trust after evidence emerged of high death rates and poor care in A&E and some wards.

However, some experts remain concerned about whether SHMI is an effective measure, suggesting that the Quality and Outcomes Research Unit Measure (QUORUM) is a better measure because it takes account of more factors that are outside a hospital’s control.

Full details of Sir Bruce’s investigation into the five hospitals have yet to be announced, however the NHS CB say the move is a first step in a package of work to “repair the damage to public confidence” caused by the Mid Staffs scandal.

The NHS CB has already invited a healthcare expert to develop a “national quality dashboard” to identify safety failures in providers.


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