New Cross Hospital Mortality Rates Revealed

Trust Has Highest Death Rate In Region


New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton has been revealed to have the highest mortality rate in the Black Country and Staffordshire, with the death rate above the expected figure.

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust was confirmed to have a death rate above the expected figure from April 2014 to February 2014.

The figures came from the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio score, which is a way of comparing hospital death rates. It takes into account variations such as population size, age profile, level of poverty and even the range of treatments offered, for example high-risk surgical procedures.

Hospitals use a score of 100 as the ‘expected score’ of their Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio. However New Cross posted a score of 106.9, making it ‘significantly worse’ than expected in terms of performance.

National health chiefs have also expressed concerns about pneumonia deaths and four tuberculosis deaths are being scrutinised within the hospital.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust scored 102.8, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust scored 97.5 and Walsall registered 96.1.

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was the lowest in the area, with 94.6.

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust’s medical director, Dr Jonathan Odum, stressed that the HSMR score is an estimate and not a verified value.

And he said that if March’s figures were taken into account then the score would fall within an acceptable level.

"At this moment in time we have no concerns about mortality," he said.

"We scrutinise mortality on a monthly basis. The estimated rebased HSMR for the same period is 105.1 which is within expected limits.

“Therefore, at the present time the Trust’s HSMR is better than expected and following rebase is likely to be within expected limits.”

Expert Opinion
These figures are concerning and regardless of recalculations taking place, efforts must be made to reduce the mortality rate by improving patient safety rather than focusing on reassessing figures.

“Each time an unexpected death occurs, NHS Trusts must investigate each contributing factor and put provisions in place to prevent the same incident from happening again.

“It is only by learning lessons and sharing them throughout the NHS, that long-term patient safety will be improved and mortality rates will fall.”
Luke Daniels, Partner