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Community trust aims to be first to review all deaths

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Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust has announced that it is aiming to be the first health service trust in the country to review all patient deaths.

The trust is the UK’s biggest provider of community health and adult social care.

“Reviewing mortality statistics can give an indication to the levels of quality and safety in the provision of care”

James Shipman

It noted that there was currently no standard for measuring mortality in community trusts and that rates vary across the country.

The organisation has already significantly improved the number of deaths it has reviewed, with 68% of deaths reviewed during 2014-15, compared to 48% in the previous year.

The trust highlighted that the vast majority of deaths among its patients followed palliative care patients.

Reviewing such deaths allows it to “ensure that the care which is being provided to our patients is the best that it can possibly be”, said the trust.

Dr James Shipman, the trust’s interim medical director, said: “Reviewing mortality statistics can give an indication to the levels of quality and safety in the provision of care, and help identify causes of deaths that are avoidable through better, safer and more efficient or effective care delivery.”

He said that the trust had established a new taskforce to review every death that occurred.

With national backing from the NHS Trust Development Authority, the taskforce aimed to “revolutionise” the quality and standards of care in the area, before disseminating the findings across the rest of the NHS, he added.

“Our ambition is to review all deaths in our community hospitals and all unexpected deaths for patients in receipt of trust services outside of our hospitals in order to determine what opportunities may arise to improve the quality of patient care”, Dr Shipman said.

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