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New measure of hospital deaths will act as trigger “to ask hard questions”

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 08 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6298
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

From April next year the NHS in England is to have a new measure of hospitals’ performance, a regular report on the numbers of patients dying in hospital in each trust.

Called the summary hospital level mortality indicator (SHMI), the measure draws on experience gathered by companies such as Dr Foster and Caspe Healthcare Knowledge Systems (CHKS) in comparing hospitals by how many patients die. The Dr Foster measure, the hospital standardised mortality ratio, originally developed by Brian Jarman at Imperial College London, forms an important part of Dr Foster’s annual Good Hospital Guide (BMJ 2009;339:b5242, doi:10.1136/bmj.b5242).

Discrepancies between the ratings given by Dr Foster and those derived from inspections by the Care Quality Commission (Dr Foster rated Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust among its “most improved” at a time when it was branded “appalling” …

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