Hospitals’ higher death rates ‘cause for concern’

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THE number of patients dying after treatment at hospitals in Chichester, Worthing and Shoreham has raised concern in a national survey.

concern in a national survey.

New data on hospital trusts across the UK shows the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust was one of 36 which rang alarm bells for having higher than expected death rates after hospital treatment, and up to 30 days after discharge.

The trust, which operates St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, as well as Worthing Hospital and Southlands in Shoreham, was highlighted as information listed in the new Dr Foster Hospital Guide was revealed last week.

It was also ranked among four others as being hospitals with higher than expected death rates from conditions where patients would normally survive.

Dr Phillip Barnes, the trust’s medical director, said staff were examining the data to see “whether there are any underlying issues which need to be addressed”.

He added: “We already examine any death at the trust to establish whether lessons can be learned, because our greatest priority is to do whatever we can to give our patients the best possible care, and we will carry out a more extensive review into the specific findings of Dr Foster.”

Dr Barnes also pointed out that the ageing population of the county did adversely affect its ratings when it came to normally low-risk conditions.

“The median age of this group of patients at our trust was 85, extremely high, and so the findings must be viewed in that light.”