Data errors ‘caused high death rates’ at hospital

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A LEADING heart hospital has defended the quality of its ­surgery after figures appeared to show high mortality rates.

According to the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS), the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, near Glasgow, had a 4.14 per cent death rate for heart surgery patients between 2008 and 2011.

But the hospital said a ­mistake was made when submitting their data, meaning emergency operations were included when these should have been taken out. When they were removed, the figures put them within ­expected levels.

Almost 4,000 heart operations were performed at the ­hospital during the three-year period. According to the SCTS, only Harefield Hospital and ­Imperial College, both in London, had higher mortality rates.

Two other Scottish hospitals were audited, recording a 3.37 per cent death rate at ­Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and 3.06 per cent at Aberdeen Royal ­Infirmary.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Golden Jubilee said their audit data submitted to SCTS ­included emergency procedures which should not have been analysed. It said its own review recorded a 3.9 per cent mortality rate for the same period, which was within ­expected levels. The mortality rate now stands at just more than 2 per cent.

A statement said: “The data originally submitted for analysis to the SCTS was found to contain emergency procedures which should have been ­excluded. Once this was corrected, it changed the overall adjusted mortality for the ­period to 3.9 per cent. This is within the spread of other UK units and not higher than expected by UK standards.

“To ensure continuous ­improvement, we conducted an internal review which resulted in improvements over a number of key interrelated areas. As a ­result of this, mortality fell ­steadily across the years 2008 to 2012 and has continued to fall.”