An annual review of preventable patient deaths is to take place in an attempt to improve mortality rates in England.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that 2,000 hospital deaths will be investigated each year to see if mistakes were made.

The data will then be used to rank hospitals according to avoidable mortality rates.

Hospital chairmen will also have to provide the health secretary with an annual update, outlining their plans to reduce preventable deaths.

The announcement comes as reports suggest hundreds of deaths were avoided after 11 English hospitals were put into special measures.

1,000 avoidable deaths in the NHS every month

Mr Hunt, who said there are 1,000 avoidable deaths in the NHS every month, commented on the plans:

“I’m determined to go even further in rooting out poor care, and have ordered a national case-note review to work out the percentage of avoidable deaths by hospital.”

“I want all hospital boards to have a laser-like focus on eradicating avoidable deaths in their organisation; even one life lost to poor care or safety is too many.”

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health explained the review “will be used to establish a national rate of avoidable deaths every year, and on that basis place individual hospitals into bandings according to the number of deaths estimated locally.”

The Health Service Ombudsmen has recently criticised the way the NHS investigates complaints into patient death or injury. It said 40% of investigations prompted by complaints were inadequate.

Claiming for an avoidable death

If you believe your loved one’s death could have been avoided with better hospital care, please get in touch with us today. We will advise you of your legal rights.

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