This week our local newspapers published a story on the fact that data obtained under a Freedom of Information request showed that more people died on a Monday in our hospital compared to other days of the week. In the articles I said that we would look into this and I now understand that this is a data glitch, with some deaths which occur at the weekend not being entered onto our patient management system until Monday. Adjusting for this we have very similar deaths each day, with no significant over-representation on any day of the week. We are working with our trainers both in data quality and on the wards to ensure that how we record this vital information is as accurate as possible and I’d like to apologise to patients and staff for any distress these articles may have caused. Mortality, or death rates, in hospitals are closely scrutinised and the NHS uses a system called Dr Foster which publishes hospital mortality rates on a regular basis. If the number of patients who die in hospital is the same as the number expected to die then the hospital gets a score of 100. Dr Foster’s most recent data records our mortality rate as 90.1, meaning patients are approximately 10% less likely to die with us. This is one of the most widely accepted quality measures and agrees well with the CQC inspection we had across all our services in February which passed us on all standards. We know that we have an average of 3.5 deaths every day across our 655 beds but that nationally it has been reported that more people die at the weekend. This has prompted Sir Bruce Keogh to look to all hospitals and health care to be available 7 days per week and from September we will be one of the first hospitals to have consultants working seven days a week in key specialties.
We have been working with other trusts, commissioners and the voluntary sector to provide an alternative for those patients that need care but don’t require an acute hospital admission. We have collectively agreed to open 100 additional community beds which will reduce bed occupancy at East Surrey Hospital, allow us to be better prepared for winter and improve the patient experience. Yesterday, Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England said that preventative care and improved services for people in the community were crucial to avoid a growing funding gap in the NHS. By working in partnership we are ensuring that the way in which services are organised is in the best interests of patients.
This week the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Care Integration Awards ceremony was held and I’m please to say that our breast cancer service was runner-up for its partnership with MediHome. Together the two healthcare teams provide help to patients who have undergone breast surgery as part of their treatment for cancer. Our Breast Care nurses and the MediHome team support patients from admission right through to recovery at home. More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. An ageing population, earlier detection and more effective treatment means that the number of people living with cancer is steadily increasing, with over 2 million people now living with or beyond cancer in the UK. Care integration can improve quality of care and outcomes through prevention, screening, early diagnosis, treatment and long-term care for cancer survivors. Our partnership with MediHome is a prime example of care that removes the barriers between all the healthcare services – giving patients a better experience of the whole NHS system.