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Hospital deaths not linked to care


21 August, 2008  

There is little evidence to suggest that high numbers of hospital deaths are linked to poor quality care, a report has said.

Figures from Doctor Foster Intelligence, a health information provider, have caused concern that hospitals could be ranked according to how likely a patient is to survive in their care.

But academics at the University of Birmingham found “little or no evidence that a high standardised mortality ratio (HSMR) systematically reflects poor quality of care or a failing hospital.”

HSMRs compare the numbers of deaths at a trust with the number of deaths expected taking into account the type of patients treated.

NHS West Midlands asked the university to examine statistics after five of its trusts were rated as “poor performing” on mortality rates in Dr Foster Intelligence’s Hospital Guide 2007.

The report found that hospitals record deaths in different ways and this could lead to a 30% variation between standardised mortality ratios.

According to the study hospitals with more hospices, nursing homes and community hospitals in the region often to have a lower HSMR.

A Dr Foster Intelligence spokeswoman said: “It is committed to improving the quality of care through continued advancement in the use of information”.

Copyright PA Business 2008

NHS West Midlands

Source: Health Service Journal