New figures reveal extent of 'unexpected' deaths at East Lancashire hospitals

First published in News

NEW figures, released through a Freedom of Information request, show the number of deaths at East Lancashire’s hospitals was 26 per cent ‘above expected’ for weekend admissions last year, compared to 13 per cent ‘above expected’ for weekdays.

It comes as East Lancashire’s hospitals find themselves in the ‘impossible situation’ of having to recruit more staff while making savings of £85 million.

A long-awaited NHS report, which made wide-ranging criticisms of the the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General last week, said there was an urgent need for extra nursing and medical staff on the wards to ensure patient safety, but gave no indication of how they would be paid for.

The Keogh Report raised specific concerns around out-of-hours staffing levels, and the Lancashire Telegraph has obtained new data showing a spike in the ‘death rate’ for weekend admissions.

The new figures were for the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator [SHMI], while data published last month under a separate measure, the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR), also suggested an increase in deaths at weekends.

Russ McLean, chairman of the Patient Voices Group, said: “It’s all well and good the inspectors saying there are staff shortages, but I’d like to see where these funds are going to come from to bring in the extra staff.”

“You have to wonder whether the government are also to blame for the problems in East Lancs, due to a lack of investment. I want a proper explanation as to how these new recruits will be paid for, as the trust now seems to be in an impossible situation.”

Earlier this year board papers for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust revealed how bosses were planning to axe 500 jobs in order to make enforced savings of £85 million.

Rineke Schram, the trust’s medical director, said: “You have to take mortality ratios with a pinch of salt, but I’m not saying we are not looking at whether there’s an issue around weekend care.”

Asked how the the new staff would be funded, including more than 60 nurses, she said: “That’s a very good question, there certainly isn’t any extra money coming in.

“But we need to put the patient experience and quality of staff first and we’ll just have to deal with it.

“It’s about making better use of the resources we have. We had to increase agency staff over the winter and it’s about using that money to recruit permanent staff and finding ways to look after more patients at home.”

When it was suggested that hospitals do not receive enough funding to provide the same level of care outside normal working hours, she said: “I wouldn’t disagree with that. I think the NHS does need to become a 24/7 organisation, but there’s a lot nationally which needs to change to enable that....I’m a doctor not a politician, it’s not my place to comment on the politics of it.”

Comments (4)

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6:14pm Sat 27 Jul 13

Mothernature says...

Maybe you should start with informing ALL staff that patients are not numbers on a score card. The services provided at Blackburn Royal Emergency Deptartment are woefully lacking. Too many of the staff spend their time standing around waiting for someone or other to make a decision about a patient. Never have I seen so much time wasted as that in the A&E department.
Maybe you should start with informing ALL staff that patients are not numbers on a score card. The services provided at Blackburn Royal Emergency Deptartment are woefully lacking. Too many of the staff spend their time standing around waiting for someone or other to make a decision about a patient. Never have I seen so much time wasted as that in the A&E department. Mothernature
  • Score: -1

6:42pm Sat 27 Jul 13

BurnleyBorn&Bred says...

Rineke Schram, the trust’s medical director, said: “You have to take mortality ratios with a pinch of salt,
.
I wonder if she would feel the same if one of her family members were included in this statistic . . dont think she would somehow..
Rineke Schram, the trust’s medical director, said: “You have to take mortality ratios with a pinch of salt, . I wonder if she would feel the same if one of her family members were included in this statistic . . dont think she would somehow.. BurnleyBorn&Bred
  • Score: 5

6:54pm Sat 27 Jul 13

tonygreaves says...

Rineke Schram is quite right - crude mortality figures are fairly meaningless. They depend on so many other factors. To take an obvious example: if you took the crude mortality figure of a typical hospice - probably 100% - you would close it immediately. But that would be crazy.

You have to take a lot of factors into account (ncluding how many people die in hospital because other services/facilities are not available). I have not seen a detailed and careful analysis done of the figures for East Lancs - perhaps they exist or perhaps they need to be done. Then we can assess how big the problem actually is and how much extra staffing/money is needed.

Tony Greaves
Rineke Schram is quite right - crude mortality figures are fairly meaningless. They depend on so many other factors. To take an obvious example: if you took the crude mortality figure of a typical hospice - probably 100% - you would close it immediately. But that would be crazy. You have to take a lot of factors into account (ncluding how many people die in hospital because other services/facilities are not available). I have not seen a detailed and careful analysis done of the figures for East Lancs - perhaps they exist or perhaps they need to be done. Then we can assess how big the problem actually is and how much extra staffing/money is needed. Tony Greaves tonygreaves
  • Score: 1

10:13pm Sun 28 Jul 13

mavrick says...

Perhaps Tony Greaves or one of his lib dem lap dogs,would tell us how we can recruit and retain qualified and experienced staff while make absurd savings of £85 Million. It is mathematically impossible. The NHS needs extra funding and better management and procurement. I have asked the questions several times, not one direct reply from any Tory or Lib Dem MP.
Perhaps Tony Greaves or one of his lib dem lap dogs,would tell us how we can recruit and retain qualified and experienced staff while make absurd savings of £85 Million. It is mathematically impossible. The NHS needs extra funding and better management and procurement. I have asked the questions several times, not one direct reply from any Tory or Lib Dem MP. mavrick
  • Score: 1

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