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Hospital death rate falls by more than 9% in four years

The hospital standardised mortality ratio has dropped by nearly a tenth since 2014.

Hospital deaths: Aim to reduce figures by 10% by end of year. <strong>© STV</strong>
Hospital deaths: Aim to reduce figures by 10% by end of year. © STV

A death rate for patients in Scotland’s hospitals has fallen by nearly a tenth in four years, new figures show.

The hospital standardised mortality ratio (HSMR) dropped by 9.2% between January to March 2014 and the same period this year.

The Scottish Patient Safety Programme was implemented to reduce hospital mortality by 10% by the end of 2018.

Of the 29 hospitals included in the latest figures, 22 reported a reduction of HSMR since 2014, with 11 exceeding the 10% target.

Those 11 are Ayr, Crosshouse, Dumfries and Galloway, Forth Valley, Inverclyde, Hairmyres, Monklands, Wishaw, Balfour, Western Isles Hospital and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital combined with Gartnavel.

The ratio is based on all acute inpatient and day case patients admitted to hospital who died within 30 days of admission.

It is adjusted to account for some of the factors known to affect the underlying risk of death.

The Scottish HSMR for January to March 2018 is 0.94 meaning there were 6% fewer deaths in the period than predicted, the same as the previous three months.

No hospitals had a significantly higher ratio in this period than the national average.

One hospital, the Western General in Edinburgh had a significantly lower ratio at 0.76.

Possible factors contributing to the overall nationwide reduction could include changes in underlying population-based mortality, the level of care, available medical treatments and the completeness and accuracy of hospital discharge summaries.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is particularly encouraging that we continue to see 11 out of 29 hospitals with a decrease of more than 10% – with this data again covering the winter months when there is a likelihood of an increase in unpredicted deaths.

“This comes at a time when our NHS is treating more people, with more complex needs than ever before.

“We want to go further, and the decade of hard work by the Scottish Patient Safety Programme shows that we are continuing to lead the way on patient safety, with other countries looking to learn from our approach.”

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