Whittington is hospital you are least likely to die in

The Whittington is the safest hospital in the country, according to new figures which reveal the likelihood of patients dying while in hospital.

The report, commissioned by the Department of Health, analyses mortality at acute hospital trusts in a bid to better understand the hospital’s influence on the likelihood a patient will die while in their care.

The figures are compiled from data on the expected death rate based on the demographics of a certain area, compared with the actual death rate at the hospital.

Scored on the basis that 100 is average, anything under 100 better than average and over 100 worse – the Whittington scored 67, the lowest score in the UK by a large margin. The next lowest mortality rate was 74.

Published in the Whittington Health’s chief executive’s report, the figures do not currently name the other trusts in the tables but a full list should be published in the autumn.

Celia Ingham Clark, medical director of the Whittington, said that the hospital has been reducing the risk of death for years and that the new way of calculating the mortality rate in hospitals shows just how far the Whittington has come.

The new method means each person is tracked for 30 days after they leave hospital, which means deaths are included even if the patient has been transferred for palliative care.

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Recently the hospital has also increased the direct involvement consultants have on their wards and has introduced a colour coding chart system so that nurses are immediately warned if any patient measurement reaches a dangerous level.

Whittington bosses have also taken steps to identify those at high risk of blood clots during initial assessment, systematic training to reduce patients getting infections, which is reflected in a lower level of MRSA, and systems to identify those likely to fall and injure themselves at hospital or those likely to get bed sore – both of which can be potentially fatal in the very old and frail.

Mrs Ingham Clark said: “A lot of hospitals are trying to do the same sort of things we are doing, but as all of our hospital buildings are on a single site it makes it easier to implement them across all of the wards.

“I don’t want to say that we have stopped all the bad things happening in hospital because that is impossible – it is still possible to fall in hospital and break your hip – but what these figures mean is that it is more and more unlikely that something like that will happen to you while you are in this hospital.

“Cautious optimism is what we are feeling. The only way that you can increase patient safety is being absolutely systematic in the reduction of risk. It is probably not the most exciting part of medicine but attention to detail is crucial.”