08:00 Friday 15 February 2013

Queen's boss attempts to calm death probe fears

Written byBY ADRIAN JENKINS

THE boss of Burton’s Queen’s Hospital has moved to allay fears following the announcement of a high-level investigation into its death rates.

In her first comments since NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said he would conduct the probe at the Prime Minister’s behest, chief executive Helen Ashley said she hoped the service regulatory framework would reassure patients.

“The Care Quality Commission has done unannounced visits and found us to be fully compliant,” she said, adding that commissioners had also visited to review Queen’s services.

“We have an awful lot of people whose responsibility it is to make sure we provide safe care and none of them has raised concerns about the care we deliver.

“There’s no doubt the review will be a worry to the public and potentially to patients who attend.

“But our objective is to learn how we can better improve our services and hopefully I can offer reassurance that we do offer safe services.”

Ms Ashley said it was ‘only right’ for Sir Bruce to investigate Queen’s high rate according hospital standardised mortality ratio.

But she pointed out that this contrasted with the hospital’s good performance on the other measure of mortality, summary hospital-level mortality indicator.

This, Ms Ashley explained, took account of external factors, such as deaths in the community, which may suggest there were influences ‘outside the hospital’s control’ driving its mortality.

But there was, she said, much Queen’s could to do influence its mortality.

“There are always things we can do to improve,” Ms Ashley said.

“We just need to rise to the challenge and continue to ensure we put patients at the heart of everything we do.”

The timescale and terms of the probe are expected to be announced today.

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