An annual national review of avoidable deaths is to be introduced to help hospital boards have a “laser-like focus” on eradicating mortalities that could have been prevented, the health secretary has announced.
Jeremy Hunt has ordered a yearly review of around 2,000 patient case notes in England to create a national rate of avoidable deaths.
This will then be used to calculate projected avoidable mortality rates at a local level for individual hospitals.
Mr Hunt said that by March 2016, every hospital board will have received their projections and he will expect each organisation’s chair to update him on how they plan to eradicate avoidable deaths.
“I want all hospital boards to have a laser-like focus on eradicating avoidable deaths in their organisation”
Previous research has found that around 1,000 preventable deaths occur across NHS hospitals in England every month, due to errors in diagnosis, treatment or care.
“I’m determined to go even further in rooting out poor care, and have ordered a national case-note review to work out the percentage of avoidable deaths by hospital,” said Mr Hunt.
He added: “I want all hospital boards to have a laser-like focus on eradicating avoidable deaths in their organisation. Even one life lost to poor care or safety error is too many.”
This follows the release of a report yesterday by data analysis company Dr Foster which found mortality rates had been reduced at 11 hospitals that were placed into “special measures” by regulators in 2013.
“Special measures” means struggling trusts are given intensive support to improve patient care.
The report found that those trusts who were taken out of special measures first had seen a turnaround in rising mortality rates, which began to fall instead.