Mortality rate in Scottish hospitals drops by 10%

The mortality rate at Scotland's hospitals has fallen by more than 10% since 2014, new figures show.

Ninewells hospital in Dundee
Ninewells hospital in Dundee

The Scottish Government said there were 7,800 fewer deaths between January and March 2014 and July and September 2017, a drop of 10.6%.

The latest figures show there were 6,084 deaths within 30 days of hospital admission between July and September 2017 - 14% fewer than predicted, giving a hospital standardised mortality rate (HSMR) of 0.86.

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In this period, one hospital - Belford Hospital in Fort William - had a standardised mortality ratio significantly higher than national average.

Glasgow’s Western General, Crosshouse Hospital near Kilmarnock, and Wishaw General Hospital in North Lanarkshire all recorded standardised mortality ratios significantly lower than the Scottish average.

The 10.6% drop since 2014 means a Scottish Government target to cut the mortality rate by 10% between 2014 and 2018 is already beaten.

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Health Secretary Shona Robison credited this to the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, a drive to improve the safety and reliability of hospital care.

The revised target was set and methodology changed following a failure to hit a previous target of a 20% reduction by December 2015 by 3.5%.

A total of 21 out 29 hospitals in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme have cut their mortality rate between January and March 2014 compared to July to September 2017.

From these, 13 have cut the rate by more than 10%.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Thanks to a decade of hard work by the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, we’ve met this key aim over a year earlier than planned. But most importantly, it means more lives have been saved that may otherwise have been lost.

“This comes at a time when our NHS is treating more people, with more complex needs. While we want to go further, it shows that we continue to lead the way on patient safety, with other countries looking to learn from our approach.”

The hospital standardised mortality rate takes account of those patients who die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital so includes some deaths that take place in the community.

But the rate does not include patients who die in hospital more than 30 days after they were admitted for treatment.