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Norfolk hospital defends itself over death rates claim

PUBLISHED: 09:09 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:08 02 July 2010

James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

Dan Grimmer

Bosses at a Norfolk hospital have defended themselves after being named as having one of the highest mortality rates in the country.

Bosses at a Norfolk hospital have defended themselves after being named as having one of the highest mortality rates in the country.

The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, was one of 25 trusts which a leading professor said should be investigated over a “higher than normal” death rate.

Professor Brian Jarman, a professor at London's Imperial College School of Medicine said a total of 4,600 more patients had died at those trusts in 2007 to 2008 than would be expected.

But bosses have hit back at the figures saying they are “well within” average mortality rates with these figures being more than two years old.

Hospitals across the UK follow a Dr Foster baseline guide for mortality rates, known as HSMR (hospital standardised mortality ratio), and it is currently 100. The James Paget's rate was 78.8 from April to December 2009.

A spokesman said: “The trust has worked in partnership with Dr Foster for three years and utilised their information to analyse potential concerns where indicated.

“Over this time period the HSMR has greatly reduced. This improvement was clearly stated in the latest Dr Foster Hospital Guide.

“The report highlighted that the trust, along with others, “have improved their figures so much that they are no longer a concern” in relation to HSMR.

“The trust is continuing to work with Dr Foster and the current figure calculated and notified to the trust is below the national average for each month of 2009/10.”

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