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Dartford hospital named over high death rates reverses its fortune

PUBLISHED: 16:37 01 December 2011

A north Kent health trust has been named as having one of the highest death rates in the country - against two criteria - with more people dying after breaking their hips than expected.

A north Kent health trust has been named as having one of the highest death rates in the country – against two criteria – with more people dying after breaking their hips than expected.

The latest Doctor Foster Inside Your Hospital guide 2011 revealed that death rates in hospital for patients cared for by the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and deaths of patients within 30 days of discharge from hospital were higher than expected.

Since then, however, the death rate has become better than the national average.

The report looked at 147 health trusts throughout the country as part of a joint venture between the Department of Health and Dr Foster Holdings.

At Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, along with 18 other trusts, the mortality rate in hospital was higher than expected in two out of four measures.

It also found that there were low levels of weekend staffing at the 463 bed Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, which comes under the trust’s umbrella.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust spokesman Glyn Oakley said: “The trust is carrying out work to improve those areas that Dr Foster has highlighted. It is our commitment to provide a safe environment with the best possible outcomes for the patients in our care.

“Senior clinicians review mortality every month and any variation from the norm is investigated.

“A monthly report is produced for the hospital board.”

He added: “Our detailed reviews of both individual variation and the general trend, tells us that overall, Darent Valley provides high quality medical and nursing care.

“However, our regular reviews do allow us to pick up significant variations that we can investigate and if necessary improve with changes to clinical practice.”

He said the figures also reflect the lack of hospice or palliative care in the area.

Mr Oakley said half of the deaths of patients with broken hips were amongst people aged 90 or over and added that death rates with shorter time spent in A&E, patients getting operated on quicker and doctors taking more of a role in their after care cutting their risk of infection.

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