Squeezed bed space is being managed successfully at King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, it has been revealed in a national health report into death rates.

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The Dr Foster Hospital Guide 2012 has discovered death rates at 12 NHS hospital trusts in England were alarmingly high between April 2011 and March 2012.

However, the results for Norfolk’s three hospitals do not raise any concerns, with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (QEH) being graded as one of the most efficient in the country.

An efficiency and mortality rating system gives each trust an overall grade, with a scale ranging between minus-eight and eight.

The QEH was graded as one of the most efficient in the country, with a five, and is placed in the ‘high efficiency and high mortality’ category, along with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (N&N), in Norwich, which was given a grade of four.

The report, entitled Fit for the Future? found patient safety is being risked because hospitals are “full to bursting” – with many around the country regularly breaching the 85pc limit set in place to protect patients.

The figures show national occupancy rates running at 88pc midweek and averaging 90pc for 11 of the 12 months, excluding quiet periods such as Christmas.

The report outlines concerns that hospitals are increasingly focusing on cost of care rather than quality of care.

The report uses four main measures to indicate hospital mortality measures. Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) measures deaths while in hospital care, based on 56 conditions that account for 80pc of deaths. The QEH was within expected measures for HSMR, with 99 recorded deaths, along with the N&N, which recorded 103 deaths.

The James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (JPH), in Great Yarmouth, returned a lower-than-expected figure of 86 deaths under HSMR – one of just 16 out of 142 hospital trusts to do so.

All the other measures in the report were within expected measures for all three of the Norfolk hospitals.

More in-depth figures show the QEH also scored as “better than expected” for non-emergency hip replacement and knee replacement patient length of stay.

It also scored “particularly well” in areas, including recovery times for surgical patients and treating short stay emergency admissions where there was only a vague diagnosis.

Medical director for the QEH, Dr Geoff Hunnam said: “The trust is pleased to note that it has been named as performing well on the efficiency index. This reflects the hard work and dedication of all its staff.

The QEH was said to have performed particularly poorly was on the length of stay for some older patients.

To read the full QEH findings, go to http://myhospitalguide.drfosterhealth.co.uk

david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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