Posted on 14 Nov 2013

Hospital Death Rates in Practice

Michelmores' Oliver Thorne comments on the Derriford hospital's data

Avoidable deaths at Derriford - the debate continues

The Mail on Sunday's article on deaths at Derriford Hospital Plymouth, in which it claimed that 3,500 unnecessary deaths had occurred at the hospital, has been attacked as tantamount to fiction by the hospital's management.

Derriford's medical director Dr Phil Hughes was reported to have read the hospital's high accident rate on the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) as a sign that it supports a culture of openness, where staff are not afraid to identify mistakes.

The legal angle

Michelmores' Oliver Thorne, a Clinical Negligence specialist, has spoken previously of the need for investigation into high mortality rates at hospitals, and is aware of the complications surrounding statistical methodology.

In the past, however, high mortality rates have often been accompanied by increased complaints and negligence claims, and his stance is that thorough investigation must be made of these statistics if patient safety is to be safeguarded.

You can read the article on Avoidable Deaths at Plymouth hospital here.

You can read the previous North Devon Journal article featuring Oliver here.

If you would like to discuss a claim relating to any of the issues discussed here, you can contact us for free, for discreet, impartial advice.