Monday, 18 May 2015

Mid Staffs - Excess Deaths - was it 400-1200 or 'maybe' 1 ?

The decrying of the HSMR figures seems to amount to a defence of 'whether or not there were excess deaths you can't prove it'.

Exchanged some tweets this morning - twitter is fun, you don't know if you are talking to a rabid loon or a sensible, rational bod. So need to test and decide in the first few tweets or risk wasting time and effort! And there are far more loons than rational bods...

Anyway I provoked, referring to the 'Mid Staffs Murders', and this was posted back...

(nicely prepared, part of someone's power point presentation...)

Denying the figures could be used to support the claim of excess deaths, but with this image

Conceding that the quality of care was appaling (sic).

This eventually led to a link to this blog (

Now the essence of the story on that blog is that the 'excess deaths' figure was based on MSNHS (Mid Staffs NHS trust)'s HSMR (Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio).

So, for the reported admissions to the hospital for various conditions, the number of reported deaths was higher than for similar admissions in other hospitals - these being the '400-1200 excess deaths'.

The blog then sets out various reasons that it claims lead to the comparison being invalid, and so supporting the statement in the picture show above.

I have issues with some of the arguments, but that notwithstanding...

As a taxpayer funding all of this I have some questions - the main one is 'were there excess deaths'?

If there were excess deaths, why is it that the measure used (according the official report) not capturing that fact?

But if not (and this report suggests there is no evidence that there were - and assuming you accept this report as more reliable than the HSMR reports it now decries) how could an acknowledged appalling level of care have persisted without threatening lives, would the appalling level of care have persisted to this day without the 'excess deaths' story - indeed does it persist to this day?

How can anyone be sure that other hospitals aren't also currently offering 'appalling levels of care'? as this case seems to have only been picked up by chance.

If these HSMR figures are of no use - why are they being collected, how much is this costing the taxpayer when it serves no useful purpose?

If these HSMR figures are of no use, then what purpose were they meant to serve? And what is being done to implement something that does serve that purpose - assuming it is needed at all.

What is clear is that the NHS has undoubtedly failed the public here, and it was only picked up by chance - there is no question of that. Whether the hospital passes the buck to up or it has been passed down is academic to that discussion. We know for certain that the NHS can freely fail the public, and it go unnoticed.

The decrying of the HSMR figures seems to amount to a defence of 'whether or not there were excess deaths you can't prove it'.

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