Patient deaths are falling at King’s Mill Hospital according to a new report.
According to data presented at the latest meeting of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board, there is an “encouraging reduction” in the trust’s mortality rate, a fact welcomed by the trust’s directors.
The trust’s Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio – the figure used to compare death rates at different hospitals, taking into account actual numbers of deaths plus factors such as patient age and poverty – was 103 in May and is currently showing at 89 for June, although this could change as more information is processed.
The expected rate for hospitals is 100.
However, the trust has recorded a HSMR of up to 120 in recent months, far exceeding the number of deaths expected.
There are about 30 deaths per week across the trust, which runs four Nottinghamshire hospitals – King’s Mill at Sutton, Newark Hospital, Mansfield Community Hospital and Ashfield Health Village in Kirkby.
Sean Lyons, board chairman, said the new data “looks good”.
The report presented on the issue states that, although the number of deaths is always lower in the summer, “the reduced HSMR also reflects the improvements made in terms of pathways of care, record keeping and coding”.
Sepsis remains the area with the highest HSMR above expectations, although the meeting – the first board meeting since a damning report by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission – was told this is also improving.
Work is being carried out to reduce deaths from sepsis – a severe infection that spreads through the bloodstream – including screening more patients for sepsis when they are admitted to hospital.
This has increased to nearly 95 per cent of patients, exceeding the target of 60 per cent.
The report heard 75 per cent of eligible patients now receive antibiotics within an hour of arriving at hospital, while more training and new policies are being implemented to improve sepsis management and reduce deaths from the illness.
High mortality rates and too many deaths from sepsis were picked up in the CQC’s recent report on the trust.
The CQC found that from April 2014 to February 2015, 88 patients with a diagnosis of “unspecified septicaemia” died, compared with an expected number of 58.
It was one of a number of concerns raised in last month’s report, which led health watchdogs to condemn the hospital as “inadequate”, saying it is in a worse state now than when first placed in special measures two years ago.
Concerns were raised about the number of deaths, the safety of patients and the quality of leadership,
The situation was said to be so serious at the trust that Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlining his concerns.
Now, as part of a bid to save the failing Sutton hospital, leading medical experts and clinicians are being shipped in from around the country to try to turn King’s Mill’s performance around.