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Early leaks from Keogh review point to nurse shortages


Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of mortality indicators at 14 trusts has found staffing concerns at each but it also cautions against taking the indicator scores to mean the same thing as “avoidable deaths”, leaked extracts suggest.

The NHS England medical director’s report is due to be released later today and Jeremy Hunt will make a statement to the House of Commons.

Sir Bruce’s overarching report will be released alongside 14 individual trust-level reports from inspection teams.

The report said: “Statistical analysis performed showed a high correlation between in-patient to staff ratio and a high hospital standardised mortality rates score.

“When the review teams visited the hospitals, they found frequent examples of inadequate numbers of nursing staff in some ward areas.”

It added the 14 organisations were all now carrying out “urgent reviews of safe staffing levels”.

Sir Bruce rubbished newspaper reports over the weekend that used the HSMR data for articles claiming the 14 trusts were responsible for 13,000 “avoidable deaths” since 2005.

His report said: “However tempting it may be, it is clinically meaningless and academically reckless to use such statistical measures to quantify actual numbers of avoidable deaths.”

The report also said that the 14 trusts faced: “[A] combination of problems that to a differing extent are experienced by all hospitals in the NHS: busy A&E departments and wards, the treatment of the elderly in and out of hospital, and the need to recruit and retain excellent staff.

“Such issues are complex and require a ‘whole system’ approach to deal with them.”















Readers' comments (5)

  • Finally someone is taking notice

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  • too few staff eh..who would of thought it!!!

    never mind at least the tories are not cutting staff, closing A&E's, no top down re-organisation etc.....erm!!!!!!!

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  • michael stone

    Radio 4's midday news, which was before the report came out, but after this 'it will link to staffing numbers' point, commented that 'staffing numbers are political, and the 'correlation isn't proof of causation' issue will be batted back-and-forth between Labour and Tories this afternoon' (I'm guessing, R4 will have been right with that prediction).

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  • At last somebody has made the link between staffing levels and mortality rates. It's not rocket science that when you do not have enough staff, patients' health and safety is going to be compromised.

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  • Tories won't give a fig

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