NHS Trusts in England to publish avoidable death data

NHS England is to publish avoidable patient death figures for the first time, making it the first healthcare system in the world to make such figures publicly available.

The figures which are due to be published in the coming weeks are anticipated to reveal that from the 240,000 hospital deaths that occur each year, between 1200 and 9000 could be attributed to poor care.

It is believed that 170 NHS Trusts from across England will be able to provide the figures. It is understood that the figures will be provided by all Trusts except for independent providers of NHS services.

In addition to the figures, families of those patients will also be given full explanations over the relative’s death in order to help support those who have been affected by a relatives death.

The decision to provide this data follows a report in 2016 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which established that the NHS was missing opportunities to learn from a patient’s death and that families were not necessarily included as part of the investigation process. The purpose of providing these figures is therefore to ensure that each death warrants a thorough investigation by the NHS and that where applicable, learnings are made to ensure that preventable errors, mistakes and oversights are not made in future cases. In instances where poor care has directly led to an adverse patient outcome or death, the affected families may be entitled to pursue a hospital negligence claim as part of a wider medical negligence claim in order to seek financial compensation for their suffering.

Commenting on the forthcoming data Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt stated:

“It’s about hospitals creating a culture which makes it easy for staff on the frontline to say, look, something went wrong; I think it could have had a different outcome and we need to learn from this so it doesn’t happen again.”

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, said:

“This new level of transparency will be central to improving care and ensuring the safety of the NHS services we all rely on. We will use this information alongside the findings of our inspections to identify where providers must make improvements and to share good practice where we find hospitals that are doing it well.”

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