Unexpected hospital deaths down 11.2%, official figures show

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A programme brought in to reduce hospital deaths has saved the lives of almost 10,000 patients, the Health Secretary has claimed.

Jeane Freeman hailed the reduction in unexpected hospital deaths as the latest official figures showed standardised mortality rates continued to fall.

A drop of 11.2% was recorded between the period January and March 2014 and April to June 2018 – ahead of the Scottish Government target to cut these deaths by 10% by the end of this year.

Ms Freeman said: “Our world-leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme continues to have a significant impact on the quality and safety of patient care, with these figures showing we have reduced unexpected hospital deaths by 11.2% – saving 9,750 lives since the first quarter of 2014. ”

She added: “This has allowed thousands more people to continue to live as full a life as possible with family and friends.”

If an overall Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) is less than one this means the number of deaths within 30 days of admission to hospital is fewer than predicted.

An HSMR of more than one means the number of deaths is higher than would have been anticipated.

The latest figures for the quarter April to June 2018 showed 5,920 people died within 30 days of being admitted to hospital in Scotland.

As a result, the HSMR for the period was calculated at 0.81 – down from 0.87 a year earlier and lower than April to June 2011, when this was 0.99.

The data also showed for the period April to June 2018 no hospitals had an HSMR that was  significantly higher than the national average.

Meanwhile, two hospitals had a significantly lower HSMR – 0.66 at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and 0.7 at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Ms Freeman said this “ongoing progress is testament to the hard work of thousands of staff across the country at a time when our NHS is treating more people, with more complex needs”.

The Health Secretary added: “This programme continues to improve the safety of healthcare wherever it is delivered, ensuring better outcomes for some of our most vulnerable people.”

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