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NHS patients 45% more likely to die than in US

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The Telegraph has recently reported on the previously unpublished data collated by Professor Sir Brian Jarman which revealed that patients are 45% more likely to die in NHS hospitals than in US ones.

Professor Jarman has been collating the data for over 10 years from 7 advanced economy countries and he has identified that NHS mortality rates were amongst the worst.

Professor Jarman had pioneered the use of hospital standardised mortality ratios (HSMRs) to measure whether death rates were higher or lower than expected. It was by using the HSMRs that he was able to identify the higher than expected mortality rates at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The data also revealed that a patient in England was 5 times more likely to die of pneumonia and twice as likely to die of septicaemia compared to similar patients in the US, which was identified as the leading country in the study. The other 5 countries involved in the study were not identified because of the sensitivity of the data.

Unsurprisingly, the elderly were found to be at a higher risk in English Hospitals compared to those in other countries. The NHS has recently been branded as ‘ageist’ as a result of new figures obtained by the former Health Minister, Paul Burstow.

Professor Jarman was very surprised with the results of the survey as he had expected for NHS hospitals to do well.

Commenting on the data, Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director of the NHS agreed there are still too many patients dying in English hospitals and he wants to use these findings to tackle the problems in the NHS.

By Sarah Fairclough, clinical negligence team