Boston Pilgrim’s trust faces mortality investigation following Stafford scandal

Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
Boston Pilgrim Hospital.

An investigation which blamed hundreds of premature deaths on ‘disastrous’ care provision at Stafford hospital has been widened to look into Boston Pilgrim’s NHS trust.

Medical director at the NHS Commissioning Board Sir Bruce Keogh today included United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust in the final list of hospitals to be investigated as ‘persistent outliers on mortality indicators,’.

Sir Bruce said: “These hospitals are already working closely with a range of regulators.

“If there were concerns that services were unsafe the regulators should have intervened.

“The purpose of my investigation is to assure patients, public and Parliament that these hospitals understand why they have a high mortality and have all the support they need to improve.

“This will be a thorough and rigorous process, involving patients, clinicians, regulators and local organisations.”

The nine organisations included in the final list have achieved abnormally poor scores on the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) for the past two years.

ULHT said it had achieved ‘significant improvements’ in mortality measures since a peak in 2009, and is no longer classed as an outlier by some indicators.

A spokesperson said: “We welcome the investigation into mortality indicators within our Trust and hope that it will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the progress that we have made on mortality thanks to the hard work of our staff.”

The trust also pointed to a recent Care Quality Commission, which revealed only ‘very minor concerns’ compared with 14 major, moderate and minor concerns raised in 2011, as evidence its hospitals had also made ‘significant improvements’ in all areas of care.

“There is still more work to do, and we are focussing on key improvements to bring our mortality ratios down even further, including the introduction of ‘a plan for every patient’, daily ward rounds by senior doctors and implementing care bundles,” the spokesperson added.

Sir Bruce’s initial investigation, following a request from Prime Minister David Cameron, revealed atrocities in neglectful care at Stafford Hospital, prompting calls for criminal prosecution against staff.

Up to 1,200 patients were revealed to have died due to health care failings between 2005 and 2009, which health secretary Jeremy Hunt said was ‘absolutely outrageous.’