A MAJOR investigation has been launched after high death rates were uncovered at two Scottish hospitals.
The Scottish Government said an assessment of patient safety was to be undertaken in NHS Lanarkshire, led by NHS watchdog Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).
It comes after the latest figures on Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) were published, showing a drop in death rates across Scotland in the last five years.
But the statistics also revealed that Monklands Hospital in Airdrie and Wishaw Hospital had high rates for the latest quarter.
Professor Jason Leitch, NHS Scotland’s clinical director, said he had now asked HIS to work with NHS Lanarkshire to examine their approach to patient safety.
“We expect all health boards to ensure patient safety is their top priority and the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) has been working for over five years to deliver ways to make healthcare safer,” he said.
“Although a high HSMR is not by itself a definitive measure of the quality and safety of care, it serves as an important prompt for further investigation.”
The Scottish Government said the review would help to understand if there were “any underlying issues which require additional support to be resolved”.
It said NHS Lanarkshire was already working on an action plan to help improve patient safety, and would work closely with HIS on their assessment.
Although Monklands and Wishaw were the sites identified as having an above average HSMR rate, the assessment will also look at Hairmyres hospital.
Dr Iain Wallace, medical director for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Our priority is for patients to receive the highest quality of care every time and we have a clear focus on the provision of safe and effective patient care.
“We very much welcome the support and involvement of HIS to undertake an assessment of the local action plans we are progressing, along with their detailed review to identify any further improvement measures that can be implemented.”