A YEAR after a high mortality risk ratio raised concerns at Basildon and Thurrock hospital, this year’s results point to significant and sustained progress in reducing the figure, together with a high level of achievement in delivering safe and effective care for local people.
The Trust’s mortality risk ratio for 2009/10 (as measured by the Dr Foster organisation) was 106.9 (officially within expected limits) compared to 131 for the preceding year. For the 6-month period to September this year, it has dropped still further and stands at 87.
Dr Foster has also judged the Trust’s overall patient safety score as good. It is of note that, for the year ending March 2010, that there were only two hospital-acquired MRSA bacteraemia infections.
As well as the continuous reduction in the mortality ratio, which has not only fallen in 19 out of the 21 months since December 2008, but also been within what Dr Foster describe as expected limits every month since April 2009, the trust can show evidence of a wide range of achievements in enhancing patient safety and raising standards for patients.
Since they were commissioned to provide a 24/7 thrombolysis service in October 2009, there have been significant stroke service developments with the designation of the Trust by the Royal College of Physicians as a hyper-acute stroke unit. They have introduced emergency direct admission to the specialist stroke ward, doubled the number of consultants and provided timely access to CT scans, with almost 4 out of 5 patients having a CT scan within 24 hours and more than a third within 6 hours.
According to the trust, these developments are delivering excellent patient outcomes and a continued drop in mortality risk that is now 20 per cent below the national average.
Dr Stephen Morgan, Medical Director, said: “This significant improvement in mortality risk ratio and patient safety rankings in the Dr Foster “Good Hospital Guide” is proof that we have taken the criticism levelled at us last year seriously.
“Despite much debate among doctors and other healthcare professionals about the way hospital mortality risk is measured – and its use as a proxy for quality of care – it remains a high profile and emotive subject. We have done what we said we would. We took a dual approach. We have enhanced quality of care, for instance by employing more doctors and nurses and having more senior staff on duty during the evening and weekends, and we have taken steps to ensure we are reporting the right information. We have also worked with our local NHS and social care partners so that patients who no longer need to be in hospital suffer less delays.
“We have put particular focus on enhancing patient safety giving it the highest profile across the Trust. We have made significant progress in responding to concerns and delivering high standards of safe and effective care for local people. Patients themselves are reporting very high satisfaction levels, with more than 95% month on month saying they would recommend us.”