Investigation into abnormally high death rates at Boston Pilgrim to begin next month

Francis Clayton died at Boston Pilgrim Hospital last week.
Francis Clayton died at Boston Pilgrim Hospital last week.

The investigation into higher-than-expected death rates at hospitals in Lincolnshire including Boston Pilgrim is likely to take place in June, it has been announced.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates Boston Pilgrim, is in the final batch of hospitals to be visited by experienced teams of doctors, nurses and patient representatives as part of the Keogh Review.

The review, led by NHS England’s medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, will visit 14 NHS trusts, which have shown abnormally high mortality ratios over the past two years. The first four trusts will be visited next week.

Prof Keogh said: “I am determined that these reviews should be about identifying solutions to any problems that may exist. I am interested in not just providing a diagnosis, but helping to write the prescriptions and support these hospitals to help them improve.

Prof Keogh commissioned the review in the wake of the Mid-Staffordshire scandal in which hundreds of patients were found to have died needlessly, to determine whether there had been ‘sustained failings in the quality of care and treatment being provided to patients’ at the other high death rate hospitals.

“A higher than expected mortality rate does not in itself tell us that a hospital is unsafe,” he added.

“For example, units delivering highly complex and specialist care could legitimately have higher mortality rates. It is, however a warning that suggests further investigation is necessary.”

ULHT’s chief executive Jane Lewington has welcomed the review as an opportunity to continue its ‘journey of improvement’.

“The safety and quality of patient care is our top priority,” she said.

“ULHT is making significant progress, as is shown by recent positive CQC reports on both Lincoln County and Pilgrim Hospitals. We welcome the review as an opportunity to continue this journey of improvement.”