After six years of some of the highest death rates in the country, mortality rates dropped
8:51am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in News
FOR six years, death rates at the Royal Bolton Hospital were among the highest in the country.
Figures from the independent health researchers Dr Foster, which publishes death rate data each year, revealed the hospital was one of the worst in England.
In 2010, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust was noted in the Dr Foster report as being one of only two trusts in the country to perform badly for six years running.
But in 2011, the Trust was praised for turning the figures round around and was given an award for the “most improved” trust.
The 2012 Dr Foster report, published in December, revealed the hospital’s death rates were lower than expected.
Dr Foster uses the complex Hospital Standardised Mortality Rates (HSMR) formula to work out mortality rates. This looks at death rates, taking into account gender, age, and the economic deprivation of the area.
It uses 100 as the base line for expected deaths — anything over this is classed as a risk.
Previous reports have shown that, in 2001/02, mortality rates were 131 in Bolton — 31 per cent higher than the national average.
Figures for 2005/06 revealed they had gone down to 123. But in the three years up to March, 2006, they were still 24 per cent per cent higher than the national average.
Dr Foster’s 2007 report showed Bolton had the fifth highest mortality rate of the country’s 152 Trusts — and was the worst in the North West. In 2009, the report showed Bolton’s mortality rate was 122 and, in 2010, it was 116.
According to the report, the figures for 2009/10 meant that 181 more people died at the Trust than would be expected.
A report by a Sunday newspaper in 2009 revealed the Royal Bolton Hospital was seventh out of 10 trusts which all had higher mortality rates than scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire. And in 2010, the Bolton Trust was one of just 19 out of 147 with “significantly high HSMRs”. Only three other trusts had a worse score.
But the same year, Dr Jackie Bene, the then medical director, said there had been “huge improvements”.
She said a range of new measures had been implemented, adding: “The most important thing is we can demonstrate real improvements in outcomes for patients.”
By May, 2011, the Trust appeared to have turned its fortunes around.
It was even given an award after figures for October, 2010, showed mortality figures had dropped below 100 for the first time to 98, meaning fewer people than expected were dying.
In January, 2011, the figure had fallen to 93.
The latest report, in December, 2012, showed the rate was lower than expected, at 104 HSMR.
At the time, the then chief executive, Lesley Doherty, said: “We have worked hard over recent years so our mortality rates are now within expected boundaries and, in one area, better than expected.”
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