East Lancashire and Blackpool hospitals welcome review

Two NHS hospital trusts in Lancashire to be investigated following the public inquiry into failings at Stafford Hospital have welcomed the review.

East Lancashire Hospitals (ELH) and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Foundation Trust are to be examined due to concerns over mortality rates.

Dr Mark O'Donnell, BTH's medical director said it had "nothing to hide".

ELH's Rinaka Shram said all of the trust's staff were "dedicated to providing the best possible care".

'Extremely high deprivation'

Ms Shram, medical director at ELH said: "We have a number of other ways that we measure quality that [proves] we do provide quality care.

"All our nurses, midwives and doctors are dedicated to providing the best possible care."

She said: "I understand when they read the headlines patients are going to be worried.

"If they have any particular concerns then of course we want to know about that. We want them to tell us so we can put those right."

Dr O'Donnell said the Blackpool area has "extremely high deprivation".

"We have the worst male life expectancy in the country, the third worst female life expectancy in the country so we have a very poor quality of health in the surrounding community," he said.

He added the trust had identified a flaw in the system at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals which was inflating death rates.

"When patients come in the notes we take don't fully record all of their underlying illnesses so they are recorded as having a relatively low risk of dying even though they may be very, very ill and actually at a high risk of dying.

'Positive experiences'

"The work we've done internally to address that shows a considerable improvement in standardising our mortality ratios, demonstrating that those figures are much better than those that are reported nationally."

Michael Watson, Director of Advice and Information at the Patients Association, said: "I am confident [many people] will have had positive experiences at these hospitals.

"It doesn't mean it is another Stafford just because it is being looked at."

The other hospitals being reviewed are Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Mortality rates are calculated by looking at the number of people that would be expected to die when taking into account the age and disease profile of the local population.

High death rates were one of the factors that triggered the original investigation into Stafford Hospital.

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