Dr Foster Good Hospital Guide: SLH Hospitals Safer than National Average
CEO: Improvement to patient safety is reassuring to our patients
The annual Dr Foster Good Hospital guide has said that the hospitals run by South London Healthcare have lower mortality rates than the national average for hospitals.
Dr Foster measures hospital mortality on a ratio with 100 being the level which is the national average, above 100 means a hospital is significantly less safe than average and below 100 means a hospital is performing a significantly safer service than the national average. SLHT has a mortality rate of 90. Further, SLHT achieved low mortality rates across three of the four indicators, only one trust in the country (Chelsea and Westminster) achieved four out of four, and only six others received three out of four.
The methodology used by Dr Foster, who work closely Imperial College and the Department of Health, has been refined and improved this year to also take account of patients who die in the weeks following discharge from hospital.
Prior to the merger which created SLHT and to the service changes made last year, Dr Foster had reported mortality rates which were higher than the national average.
This improvement to patient safety is the more impressive due to the fact that mortality rates nationally are falling so that each year it becomes more difficult to be safer than the national average.
Two important issues about patient safety have been raised in the media today in response to Dr Foster's annual hospital guide:
1. Increased specialisation is safer for patients:
SLHT was recently a finalist in the prestigious Health Service Journal hospital of the year award due to the improvements it has made in patient safety as a consequence of making difficult and complex changes to how its services are provided.
This has included larger emergency and maternity units at the Queen Elizabeth and Princess Royal hospitals and the development of Queen Mary's Hospital as a specialist centre for non emergency surgery. The Trust now also has a specialist unit for treating intensive stroke patients. The improved outcomes for patients in all of these areas has been very good, and the maternity service is now one of the safest in London.
2. Care at weekends:
The Trust has done much work through its Hospital at Night programme, and its establishment of specialist and larger units. As a consequence, Dr Foster has reported no safety concerns about the Trust's weekend and overnight care.
All of the service changes have involved ensuring that patients are treated by more experienced clinicians as soon as they are admitted to hospitals and it is this which has crucially made the difference.
Dr Chris Streather, Chief Executive:
"Our trust has made improvements to patient safety its absolute first priority since we were established and I am delighted that it has been objectively evidenced today that our hospitals are now safer than the national average. This isn't about statistics but real people who are alive today as a result of improved patient safety locally."
"We don't get it right every time with every patient, and we are fully focused on making changes that will improve the experience of patients who use our hospitals. However I hope the fact that we are objectively safer than most will be very reassuring for our patients"
- The full national table, including how hospitals in South London have performed is available on the BBC website
- Full guide, including the methodology used by Dr Foster