Steady decrease in Scottish hospital mortality

NEW figures have revealed there were 7,800 fewer than expected deaths in Scottish hospitals between the first quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2017 – a drop of 10.6 per cent.

The findings have been revealed in the latest Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) with the decrease being attributed to the Scottish Patient Safety Programme which works to reduce harm and improve the safety and reliability of healthcare.

The original aim of the programme launched in January 2008 was to reduce hospital mortality by 15 per cent by December 2012, subsequently extended to a 20 per cent reduction by December 2015. Hospital mortality fell by 16.5 per cent overall (equating to 20,000 fewer deaths than expected) between October-December 2007 and October-December 2015.

A revised target was introduced (following changes to the methodology and baseline of the HSMR) to reduce hospital mortality by a further 10 per cent by the quarter ending December 2018.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Thanks to a decade of hard work by the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, we’ve met this key aim over a year earlier than planned. But most importantly, it means more lives have been saved that may otherwise have been lost.

"This comes at a time when our NHS is treating more people, with more complex needs. While we want to go further, it shows that we continue to lead the way on patient safety, with other countries looking to learn from our approach.”

Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director for NHS Scotland, said: "These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, representing reductions in infections, falls, and many other harms. We should celebrate those achievements, and the culture of openness and learning they have enabled.

"As our safety programme has grown, it has continued to improve the safety of healthcare wherever it is delivered, ensuring better outcomes for some of our most vulnerable people. That will continue as the programme expands to care homes and other sectors."