Figures published this week have confirmed that North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has remained in the ‘as expected’ range for 2015/16 relating to the number of deaths occurring in its two hospitals – the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.
Commenting on the report published by the North East Quality Observatory Service (NEQOS); Rod Harpin, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The latest figures demonstrate the Trust has successfully sustained our lower mortality rates meaning less people are dying in our hospitals than in previous years. One of the main reasons we have achieved this is by centralising complex emergency surgery from West Cumberland Hospital to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.. In addition, the introduction of our Primary PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) service in the Heart Centre at the Cumberland Infirmary has reduced deaths for cardiac conditions for people living across West, North & East Cumbria. These changes have led to improved outcomes and saved lives.
“Our number one priority is to give our patients the best chance of making a full recovery after a stay in hospital. I would like to thank our staff for their ongoing commitment as we continue to strive to make further improvements to our services.”
Two measures are used to record hospital mortality rates – Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) and Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR).The difference between the measures is that SHMI records deaths after hospital treatment and up to 30 days after discharge and HSMR records deaths in hospital based on certain conditions. The mortality measures are adjusted to take into account how likely each patient is to die based on their age, diagnosis, other diseases, gender, social deprivation and previous history or hospitalisation.
In North Cumbria, the SHMI for 2015/16 is 101 and over the past three years, it is below the England average and one of the best in the North East & Cumbria region at 99 (average is 100). SHMI is calculated by taking the ratio of the actual number of patients who die following a hospital stay (and up to 30 days after discharge) to the number expected to die based on average England figures.
The Trust’s average HSMR is also in the ‘as expected’ range at 105 and is measured by the ratio of observed number of in-hospital deaths to the number of expected hospital deaths.
In 2011, the Trust’s HSMR was 118 and SHMI was 112 which led to the Trust being placed in Special Measures in 2013. Since then, there has been a huge amount of focus and work to ensure that the Trust’s mortality rates fell into the expected range which the Trust has now sustained since 2014.