Death rates in East End hospitals second lowest in England

Patients have more chance of surviving after an accident or serious illness in the East End than almost anywhere else as its hospitals have just been named the second safest in England.

New NHS figures show mortality rates at The Royal London, Barts and the London Chest hospitals are lower than every other trust in the country apart from the Whittington hospital trust in north London.

Compiled by the NHS Information Centre, the report logged every death in all wards and also included those that occurred 30 days after discharge from hospital.

The result is even more remarkable for Barts and the London because it is a trauma centre which means that patients who have life-threatening injuries are often rushed to its hospitals.

The fact that the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel is also a base for the city’s only medical helicopter service, the London Air Ambulance means it receives far more serious casualties than most other centres.

Medical director of the trust, Dr Steve Ryan, said: “Clinical care is at the heart of everything we do and this result reflects the very high standard of treatment our patients have the right to expect.”

The figures, know as the summary hospital-level mortality indicator (SHMI), will be published every quarter.

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London hospitals led the results, with the top seven performing trusts in England within the capital.

The SHMI is not a simple log of the amount of fatalities that occur at each hospital.

Instead it divides deaths by the number that would be expected given the medical needs and characteristics of patients in that area.

For example, it would be taken into account that east London is likely to have more diabetes deaths because the disease is far more prevalent among South Asians.

Mortality rates published in this way should serve as a “smoke alarm” for badly-rated trusts compared to others facing the same problems, according to the NHS Information Centre.