Alert after increase in deaths of hip patients


Watford General Hospital has ‘triggered concerns’ for the number of hip fracture patients who die within 30 days of being admitted.

A new report reveals that both Watford and Luton & Dunstable hospitals showed an ‘excess mortality’ rate and ‘consistent cause for concern’ according to the National Hip Fracture Database.

The publication said: “Each showed an excess mortality which in absolute terms equated with over 12 deaths during the three year period [2010 to 2013].”

From 2012 to 2013, Watford General Hospital saw 450 hip fracture patients and of these 11.5 per cent or 51 people died within 30 days. At the best hospitals only two per cent died.

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Watford site, says changes have been made to improve the death rate.

Medical director Dr Mike Van Der Watt said: “During 2012/13 we saw an increase in the mortality rate for these patients and, in July, we instigated a number of measures to address this rise. This included ensuring our patients are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors and nurses before they undergo surgery, anaesthetised and operated on by senior clinicians, given appropriate time to recover after their operation before returning to their ward and seen by a specialist doctor in the days after their operation.

“In addition, we have set up a dedicated committee of specialist doctors and nurses to regularly review the care provided to these patients and to track our mortality rate as we move forward.

“Initial findings show that our mortality rate for inpatients who have suffered a hip fracture has dropped in recent months. However, further analysis is needed.”

Dacorum Hospital Action Group chairman Betty Harris said she will be writing to trust chief executive Samantha Jones about the latest figures, which relate to former boss Jan Filochowski’s reign.