Lincolnshire hospitals expected to be among worst in Keogh death rate review

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

Lincolnshire’s main hospital trust is among the worst of 14 providers being investigated for abnormally high death rates, according to data published in advance of a major investigation.

NHS medical director Professor Bruce Keogh will tomorrow publish his report into higher than average mortality ratios across the UK following the Mid Staffordshire scandal in which hundreds of patients were found to have died needlessly.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates Boston Pilgrim Hospital and provides some services at Skegness Hospital, was among those called in for scrutiny because of its poor record.

But according to statistics compiled annually over the past decade by Professor Brian Jarman, an eminent health academic who worked on the report, ULHT has already been identified as having the second highest number of deaths out of the 14 trusts being investigated.

A staggering 1,531 deaths have been recorded above the expected mortality ratio at the trust between 2006 and 2012, according to the report.

Professor Jarman, who is head of the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit at Imperial College, blames the situation nationally on there being too few hospital doctors, too many managers per bed and too many untrained nurses.

“These also seem to the factors in Lincolnshire,” he added.

Having published the death rate statistics every year since 2001, Professor Jarman finds it ‘scandalous’ that it has taken so long for the Department of Health to take notice.

“The whole department has been in denial,” he said.

“Quality of care should have been at the very top of the agenda throughout and it shouldn’t have taken financial issues to escalate it.”

A spokesperson for ULHT said that the data did not take into account the larger size of the trust, which they say deals with far more patients than the others reported.

When this is factored into the comparative ratios in Professor Keogh’s report tomorrow, they say ULHT will not have performed so poorly.