1. ITV Report

Hospitals face tough criticism over high mortality rates

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is one of 14 NHS trusts in England which has been investigated over unusually high mortality rates. Photo: ITV News

Some of our region's hospitals could have so-called "hit squads" sent in over claims there have been thousands of needless deaths.

A major report today is expected to be very critical of 14 trusts which have been found to have unusually high mortality rates.

NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is expected to describe poor care, medical errors and management blunders at the trusts which include Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was found to have unusually high mortality rates. Credit: ITV News

Sir Bruce will suggest that the Stafford Hospital scandal was not a one-off. Reports suggest that there may have been 13,000 needless deaths across the 14 trusts since 2005.

Yesterday the Prime Minister's official spokesman indicated that hospital board members could be suspended following care failings.

One of the things the Prime Minister said in response to the Francis Inquiry is that a single failure regime would be set up whereby the suspensions of boards can be triggered by failures in care.

– David Cameron's spokesman

The Francis report found serious care failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. As part of the Government's response, ministers said that if a hospital is deemed to be failing, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals could initiate a failure regime in which the board could be suspended or the hospital put into administration.

Following the public inquiry into failings at Mid Staffordshire, Sir Bruce launched an investigation into the 14 other trusts because of their high mortality rates.

Reports suggest Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will send "hit squads" into 10 of the trusts. The teams of experts will be sent to turn around hospitals which are failing critically ill patients, the Daily Telegraph said.

The remaining 4 trusts, it is suggested, will be put into special measures, which will allow Monitor, the regulatory body for NHS foundations trusts, to force failing trusts to improve those areas of their performance deemed to be sub-standard by the Keogh inquiry.

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