Review launched into weekend death rates at King's Lynn hospital
A review is being undertaken of weekend mortality rates at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a meeting has heard.
Members of the hospital’s board of directors were told on Tuesday morning that, although overall death rates were falling, the numbers of deaths occurring at weekends were rising.
No figures were given during the session, which was held in the hospital’s conference room.
And trust medical director Dr Frankie Swords stressed that the hospital had not been asked to look into the trend by an external agency, but had chosen to investigate it itself because of its own concerns with it.
She said the last review of its kind had not revealed any issues with the work of staff.
But she suggested that patients who were admitted at weekends tended to be more acutely unwell than those who are admitted on weekdays.
Trust chairman Professor Steve Barnett questioned whether senior managers were satisfied they had sufficient clinical staff at weekends.
But Dr Swords said 96 per cent of patients were reviewed by a consultant within 14 hours of arriving.
Non-executive director Dr Ian Mack also questioned whether other health organisations could also do more to help address the issue.
Dr Swords said the previous review of the issue had been conducted with the support of other health professionals.
A statement from Dr Swords after the meeting said: "Crude and adjusted mortality rates for the QEH have dropped every month since December 2018, showing a dramatic improvement overall.
"We are now well within the expected range for our local population and patient group. However, people who are admitted to our hospital on weekend days are slightly more likely to die than patients admitted on weekdays.
“This is in line with national reporting and there are likely to be many reasons for this. However, given this is an increase for us, we are keen to understand the reasons behind it.
“We continue to have monthly mortality review meetings as we try to take learning from every death that occurs in our hospital, and this month we have started a specific review of patients admitted on weekend days to determine what further action, if any, may be needed."