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Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has highest death rate in England, figures reveal



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Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has the highest mortality rate in the country, figures have revealed.

Data from the health service shows that the mortality ratio amongst patients at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was 1.19 – the highest in England.

The figure accounts for the average age of patients in the region – the trust also had the highest number of excess deaths at 505 – and shows the total number of deaths was almost 20 per cent higher than expected.

Patients are waiting for urgent treatment at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital longer than almost anywhere else in the country
Patients are waiting for urgent treatment at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital longer than almost anywhere else in the country

A trust spokesman pointed out that, while the figures do account for people’s age, they do not account for the number of people in palliative care, which is disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.

Medical director Professor Erika Denton said: “The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have, sadly had an impact on mortality figures, which has affected areas of the county with an older population more acutely.

“We continually review mortality data and our higher numbers of palliative care cases at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are a major driver for our summary hospital-level mortality indicator (SHMI).

“A review of SHMI found that more than half of all our deaths are palliative care cases, compared to a national average of 39 per cent.

“Our hospital standardised mortality ratio is within the expected range and the SHMI falls within the expected range when adjusted for palliative care.”

Despite this, the figures, which were published by The Telegraph (£) using data from NHS England, highlighted other failings at the trust, which could not be explained by different methodologies.

Patients are waiting for urgent treatment longer than almost anywhere else in the country.

The number of people on waiting lists for more than 18 weeks is at 48 per cent – higher than the national average of 37 per cent and missing the national target of eight per cent.

Prof Denton explained that the high waiting lists were the result of a huge backlog caused by the pandemic.

She said: “Our waiting lists were hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and our teams are working hard to treat patients as quickly as possible and are doing everything they can to create additional capacity wherever able, including carrying out procedures at evenings and weekends.

“We are prioritising the most urgent and longest waiting patients.”

When all performance targets are taken into account – waiting lists, A&E waiting times, ambulance response times, diagnoses and face-to-face GP appointments – the trust ranks in the bottom fifth in Britain, at 98th out of 120.

Elsewhere, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ranked 68th, with 32 per cent of patients treated within 18 weeks, which was better than the national average.

Remarkably, every single cancer patient in the county had begun treatment within a month. The national average is 96 per cent. In Norfolk, the figure was 86 per cent.

Prof Denton explained that the high waiting lists were the result of a huge backlog caused by the pandemic.

She said: “Our waiting lists were hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and our teams are working hard to treat patients as quickly as possible and are doing everything they can to create additional capacity wherever able, including carrying out procedures at evenings and weekends.

“We are prioritising the most urgent and longest waiting patients.”

When all performance targets are taken into account – waiting lists, A&E waiting times, ambulance response times, diagnoses and face-to-face GP appointments – the trust ranks in the bottom fifth in Britain, at 98th out of 120.

Elsewhere, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust ranked 68th, with 32 per cent of patients treated within 18 weeks, which was better than the national average.

Remarkably, every single cancer patient in the county had begun treatment within a month. The national average is 96 per cent. In Norfolk, the figure was 86 per cent.



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