Whittington hospital “safest in country”

The Whittington is the safest hospital in the country, according to new figures which reveal the likelihood of patients dying while in hospital.

The report, commissioned by the Department of Health (DoH), analyses mortality at acute hospital trusts in a bid to better understand the hospital’s influence on the likelihood a patient will die while in their care.

The figures are compiled from data on the expected death rate based on the demographics of a certain area, compared with the actual death rate at the hospital – and the Whittington, in Magdala Avenue, Archway, scored the best results in the whole of the UK.

Celia Ingham Clark, medical director of the Whittington, said that the hospital has been reducing the risk of death for years and that the new way of calculating the mortality rate in hospitals shows just how far the Whittington has come.

The new method means each patient is tracked for 30 days after discharge, which means deaths are included even if the patient has been transferred for palliative care.

Whittington bosses have also taken steps to identify those at high risk of blood clots during initial assessment, implemented systematic training to reduce patients getting infections and systems to identify those likely to fall and injure themselves at hospital or those likely to get bed sores

Mrs Ingham Clark said: “A lot of hospitals are trying to do the same sort of things we are doing, but as all of our hospital buildings are on a single site it makes it easier to implement them across all of the wards.

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“I don’t want to say that we have stopped all the bad things happening in hospital because that is impossible – it is still possible to fall in hospital and break your hip – but what these figures mean is that it is more and more unlikely that something like that will happen to you while you are in this hospital.

“Cautious optimism is what we are feeling. The only way that you can increase patient safety is being absolutely systematic in the reduction of risk. It is probably not the most exciting part of medicine but attention to detail is crucial.”