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‘Basildon Hospital Death Rates Deeply Concerning’, Says Lawyer

Figures Show NHS Trust Had Up To 2500 Avoidable Deaths In Last Decade


By Helen MacGregor

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell say a NHS Trust which was revealed to have had up to 2,500 avoidable deaths over the past decade must provide answers and reassurance about patient safety as quickly as possible.

Figures compiled for a Sunday newspaper also revealed that there have been 544 needless deaths at Basildon Hospital, Essex, in the past two years alone.

The hospital, part of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is one of 14 being investigated by NHS England in the wake of the Francis Inquiry into Stafford Hospital.

The figures were put together by Professor Sir Brian Jarman, from Imperial College London, who runs the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit on hospital deaths.

Since avoidable hospital death rates were first recorded 11 years ago the Trust has consistently had higher than acceptable rates. Dr Foster, which collects NHS death rates and publishes them annually, said Basildon had appeared more regularly as a high death rate trust than any other trust.

Ian Christian, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, said: “These figures are deeply concerning but sadly reflect the nature of the enquiries we have received from patients or families who have been subjected to neglect care within the Trust.

“Steps must be immediately taken to investigate exactly what caused these high death rates and then new measures put in place to ensure the same failures cannot happen again.

“Each patient or family member has a right to answers about why the care provided fell below what can be reasonably expected and showing that improvements have been made will go some way to reassuring patients that their safety is a top priority for staff within the Trust.”

In February it was announced NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh would investigate five trusts including Basildon and Thurrock which were identified by the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) as having higher than expected death rates.

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