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Hospital deaths: 10 per cent more die than expected in Walsall

By Pete Madeley | Walsall | Health | Published:

More Walsall Manor Hospital patients died than were expected to last year, according to shock new figures revealed by the Express & Star today.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Walsall Manor Hospital, had 10 per cent more people die than expected in a year

And Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital posted the worst unexpected death rate in the country – a staggering 475 more deaths than had been estimated.

Officials estimated there should have been 1,521 deaths at the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust (WHNT) or within 30 days of discharge in 2017.

However, 1,668 people died – 10 per cent more than had been estimated. The figure falls within the official ‘expected’ rating for NHS trusts, which allows for leeway over estimates.

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Healthwatch Walsall works on behalf of the public to hold the NHS to account.

Executive director Elizabeth Learoyd said: “The higher-than-expected number of deaths is concerning.

“Healthwatch will be looking closely at the statistics to identify which groups are particularly affected and ask the hospital and clinical commissioning group for an explanation for this.”

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The statistics were compiled in the latest NHS Digital report on hospital mortality rates, and show that 13 trusts were categorised as having higher death rates than expected.

Elsewhere

They include the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which was the worst in the country with 475 more deaths than were predicted. The trust recorded 2,654 deaths in 2017, 22 per cent higher than the estimate of 2,179.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham, was also named as having a higher than expected death rate.

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It was expected to record 1,898 deaths in 2017, but instead had 2,137 – 239 more deaths (13 per cent).

NHS Digital has warned that the figures, which were brought in as a result of the Mid-Staffordshire hospital crisis, only act as a ‘smoke alarm’ for further investigation.

Two other trusts in the region were classed as having a mortality rate ‘as expected’, despite recording more deaths than had been estimated.

Dudley NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, had a total of 2,433 deaths – 102 higher than expected (four per cent), and University Hospitals of North Midlands, which runs County Hospital, had 190 more deaths than expected (five per cent).

The figures come from the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator.

A similar form of data analysis helped to uncover the Mid Staffs hospital scandal in 2010, which saw between 400 and 1,200 patients die as a result of poor care between January 2005 and March 2009 at Stafford Hospital

Sir Robert Francis QC, published his final report into the scandal in 2013, finding that bosses became obsessed with cost-cutting and government targets at the expense of care.

His report in the wake of the 2010 public inquiry found hundreds of patients experienced ‘appalling and unnecessary’ suffering.

Bosses: We analyse all cases and make changes

Cases of patients who die in hospital in Walsall are always analysed so that staff can ‘embed changes from any lessons learned’.

Figures released by NHS Digital show there were 147 more deaths at the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust (WHNT) or within 30 days of discharge in 2017 than expected.

During the 12 months, 1,668 people died – the number was 10 per cent higher than the estimated figure of 1,521.

The figure falls within the official ‘expected’ rating for NHS trusts, which allows for leeway over estimates. Mr Amir Khan, medical director at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Walsall Manor, said: “While we were in the ‘as expected’ range for the number of deaths that occurred both within and outside of the hospital environment we analyse all cases in accordance with national policy and to embed changes from any lessons learned.

“There are a wide range of factors that contribute to mortality rates which is why we work with partners across Walsall’s health economy to prioritise preventative work among people of all ages who use our services.

“We are also one of the best performing organisations under the HSMR national benchmarking which covers the whole of 2017/18.”

The figures also show that there were 190 more deaths at University Hospitals of North Midlands than expected in 2017.

During the 12 months, 4,313 died at the trust which runs County Hospital in Stafford and Royal Stoke University Hospital.

This is five-per-cent more than the 4,123 estimated deaths but the figure also falls with the official ‘expected’ rating for NHS trusts.

Dr John Oxtoby, medical director at University Hospitals of North Midlands, said: “We monitor mortality rates over long periods of time to look for any trends that need further investigation.

“SHMI, and other similar metrics that look at trust mortality, are only one component of the information available to us to understand the pattern of in-hospital deaths.

"Our organisation has a strong focus on reviewing cases of patients who die in hospital to ensure we provide the very best care for patients going forward.”

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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