An independent review into death rates at Walsall Manor Hospital is three-quarters of the way through.
The £30,000 inquiry was commissioned by borough council chiefs after the hospital recorded higher mortality rates than other similar hospitals.
Work by consultants Mott MacDonald began in January and the health scrutiny panel had been expecting feedback at its meeting last night.
However, chairman Councillor Marco Longhi said it would be unhelpful to reveal any of its findings until the investigation was finished.
“I have taken the view that it would probably be unwise to feedback information, given that 25 per cent or so of the work still has to be done and that might alter what the report will untimately state,” he said.
“I don’t want to present a scene that might be different to the eventual outcome. But I can tell you that the process has been robust and has integrity.”
Information including demographics, ethnicity, postcode, diagnosis and treatment is being considered. Hospital bosses had promised to tackle high death rates and an action plan was drawn up but the council decided it wanted an independent report to help reassure residents.
The move was criticised as a “waste of money” by Democratic Labour Party member Councillor Pete Smith. He said the result of the investigation could easily be predicted – that the Manor Hospital had made significant progress in reducing the mortality rates since April 2011, which had put it in a better position to gain foundation trust status.
But Councillor Longhi said he had wanted a special report because of what happened at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
“There is probably not a single individual treated at Stafford Hospital that wouldn’t have liked a a review such as this to have been done,” he said. “And is £30,000 too high a price to pay if it saves the life of even one person?
“The numbers they are giving us now are going to be put through a sausage machine in six or 12 months’ time and they might say we need to re-base because other hospitals are showing an even greater rate of improvement.”
Councillor Douglas James said figures had been published showing that the number of 85-year-olds will grow by 49 per cent between 2008 and 2028. “So it is important that the scrutiny panel, with the help of experts, looks at some of the key factors,” he said. “Mortality is something I don’t want to bet on.”