3,000 patients may have died needlessly in just one year at the 14 hospital trusts being investigated over death rates

3,000 patients may have died needlessly in just one year at the 14 hospital trusts being investigated over death rates
Blackpool Teaching Hospital Trust had 410 more deaths than expected
Officials say data is ‘experimental’ and figures only act as ‘smoke alarm’NHS England said trusts in question would be visited by a team of experts

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The trusts had a combined total of almost 1,500 more deaths than expected in 2011 to 2012 – according to the figures.

Officials cautioned that the data is ‘experimental’ and the figures should only act as a ‘smoke alarm’.

Mortality data have been much debated in recent weeks following the temporary suspension of the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary

Mortality data have been much debated in recent weeks following the temporary suspension of the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary

Sir Bruce said: ‘A higher than expected mortality rate does not in itself tell us that a hospital is unsafe, for example, units delivering highly complex and specialist care could legitimately have higher mortality rates.

It is, however, a warning light that suggests trusts should investigate further to identify and resolve any care quality issues.

‘We want consistently high performing hospitals across the NHS.

‘Hospitals with persistently high Summary Hospital Mortality Indicator scores are currently under review.’

Mortality data have been much debated in recent weeks following the temporary suspension of the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Figures presented to Sir Bruce suggested that death rates at the unit were double that of other centres.

But medical bodies, doctors and other experts questioned the accuracy of the data used to support the suspension of surgery, which they said was unverified and not fit to base such a decision on.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Health Select Committee: ‘[Mortality data] has to be treated with caution because it is excess mortality against a mean, it doesn’t mean that every example of excess mortality is an avoidable death, but it does mean you should investigate and that’s what’s happening.’

NHS England said that the 14 trusts under investigation would soon be visited by a team of experts including doctors, nurses and patient representatives.

A spokeswoman said that the teams will carry out ‘rapid responsive reviews’ and will observe the hospital in action, as well as taking part in meetings with patients, members of the public, and staff.

These visits will be followed up with unannounced visits, she added.

HOW DO THE HOSPITALS' MORTALITY FIGURES COMPARE

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 1,668
Expected deaths: 1,510.8156
Difference: 157.1844

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 3,560
Expected deaths: 3,240.782
Difference: 319.218

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 978
Expected deaths: 891.3849
Difference: 86.6151

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected
Observed deaths: 1,788
Expected deaths: 1,553.0346
Difference: 234.9654

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected – a repeat outlier
Observed deaths: 2,236
Expected deaths: 1,938.045
Difference: 297.955

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 2,092
Expected deaths: 2,008.4612
Difference: 83.5388

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 1,821
Expected deaths: 1,688.1848
Difference: 132.8152

Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected
Observed deaths: 1,707
Expected deaths: 1,505.3115
Difference: 201.6885

Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: as expected
Observed deaths: 1,247
Expected deaths: 1,262.3652
Difference: 15.3652 fewer deaths than expected

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected – a repeat outlier
Observed deaths: 2,174
Expected deaths: 1,854.6328
Difference: 319.3672

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected – a repeat outlier
Observed deaths: 1,375
Expected deaths: 1,165.294
Difference: 209.706

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected – a repeat outlier
Observed deaths: 2,357
Expected deaths: 1,946.7956
Difference: 410.2044

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected – a repeat outlier
Observed deaths: 1,954
Expected deaths: 1,714.6409
Difference: 239.3591

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
Latest SMHI rating: higher than expected
Observed deaths: 2,630
Expected deaths: 2,310.2554
Difference: 319.7446