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An increase in the mortality rate at Lincoln County Hospital is “concerning”, a health watchdog says.


4 August 2015




An internal report said the number of deaths at the hospital was “significantly higher than expected”. Preston Keeling, from Healthwatch, said hospital managers needed to explain why the rates were so high.


United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said all deaths were reviewed and staff were “vigilant”, but the rise was not of major concern.


‘Fluctuations’ common Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said he had asked the hospital to “continue to monitor” the situation closely. Mr Keeling said: “The spike (in death rates) is concerning and we need to have a look and see why it occurred.”


The latest study shows the hospital standardised mortality rate (HSMR) was 119.15 at Lincoln County Hospital compared to 96.99 at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and 84.51 at Grantham and District Hospital. In Nottinghamshire, the rates were also high at Sherwood Forest Trust, where the average across the year was 114.


The HSMR is a formula that gives a score based on the age of patients who have died, their medical condition and other factors. Mr McCartney said: “My understanding of HSMR is that it is not an absolute measure and that fluctuations are not uncommon.


“HSMR does provide us with a useful alarm system though, and I have already sought and received assurances … that the situation will continue to be monitored closely.”


‘Not brushing away’ Kevin Turner, Lincolnshire NHS trust’s deputy chief executive, said: “We don’t believe there is a mortality issue… but we will continue to be vigilant because it is not a new issue.


“We are not brushing this away… there are many factors that we need to look into. “When we have a death in the hospital we review that death and come to a conclusion whether that death could be avoided.”


The Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said improvements were being made in each area of the hospitals where mortality rates were high.

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