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Dr Foster Hospital Guide
Dr Foster Hospital Guide

Dr Foster Hospital Guide

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide recently revealed that death rates at 19 NHS hospital trusts are alarmingly high.

Released late last year, the guide found that patients are dying in higher numbers than expected at 19 NHS hospital trusts. In particular, there are four which have an unusually large amount of deaths after surgery, including Birmingham NHS Trust Foundation and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The guide also recorded more than 30,000 life-threatening blood clots developed in English hospitals last year, suggesting the NHS does not do enough to prevent the condition. Additionally, it was discovered more than 13,000 mothers suffered an obstetric tear while giving birth, 10,000 patients experienced accidental punctures or lacerations, 6000 cases of bedsores, and over 2,000 examples of post-operative intestinal bleeding.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley welcomed the report, saying: “I have been clear that unsafe care will not be tolerated. Patients have a right to expect the very best care from the NHS and when something goes wrong, hospitals have a duty to report it and make sure that others can learn from their mistake.”

“We have already taken action to improve safety and openness in the NHS - publishing more information and statistics for all to see, extending the list of mistakes the NHS will not be paid for and strengthening rights for whistleblowers.”

Even so, researchers believe that the report is not entirely accurate, and that the real figures are almost certainly far higher. This is because many trusts do not properly record events in which patients are harmed.

Nigel Edwards, acting chief executive of the NHS Confederation, believed this is a cause for concern, saying: “The way information is recorded and interpreted in the health service is very important.”

“If we are going to manage and measure our health service using data on the outcomes of procedures and the success of treatments then we need to ensure that the collection of usable data is a priority and embedded in the culture of the health service.”

Aiming to provide information to people making decisions about their healthcare, the guide is considered influential by many. However, it has come under criticism by regulators who query Dr Foster's methods. In answer the NHS will publish a new, more comprehensive way of identifying potentially worrying hospitals in the Spring.

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