The request came after it was revealed that an unusually high number of deaths at the hospital have been recorded as “palliative” which means that the death was expected because the patient was terminally ill. This makes North Middlesex Hospital the fourth highest hospital trust in the country to avoid including such cases in its published death rates. Analysis shows that the proportion of deaths coded “palliative” at the hospital rose from 4.76 per cent in 2008 to 31.48 per cent in 2012. This is the one of the highest increases in the country.
Sharon Grant, Healthwatch Haringey Chair said, “It is important that people have accurate information about the standards of care, and death rates at a hospital can be an important indicator of quality, along with other measures commonly used.”
“Where there is such a rapid increase in the numbers of deaths which are not being counted, this is bound to be a cause for concern. We have today therefore asked the Care Quality Commission to investigate whether the North Middlesex University Hospital is using best practice in the way in which it arrives at its mortality statistics.”
Deborah Fowler, Chair of Healthwatch Enfield said, “We believe patients will feel
re-assured if an independent body like the CQC investigates how the North Middlesex hospital arrived at their statistics. It is vitally important that any change in the way deaths are recorded is open and transparent