Patients are 45 percent more likely to die in NHS hospitals than in the U.S., according to previously unpublished data collected by Professor Sir Brian Jarman, Telegraph reports. The data revealed:
- NHS had the worst figures of all seven countries in 2004
- England’s death rate was 22 percent higher than the average of all seven countries.
- England’s death rate is 58 percent higher than in the best performing country.
- NHS patients were almost 60 percent more likely to die in hospital compared with patients in the best country.
- A patient in England was five times as likely to die of pneumonia and twice as likely to die of septicaemia compared to similar patients in the US, the leading country in the study, the data suggested.
- The elderly posed the greatest risk in NHS hospitals in comparison to those in other countries.
Reactions to the Data
Initially, Professor Sir Brian Jarman was so shocked by his figures that he did not release them assuming there was a flaw in his methodology. Imperial College London medic told Channel 4 News:
“I expected us to do well and was very surprised when we didn’t. If you go to the States, doctors can talk about problems, nurses can raise problems and listen to patient complaints. We have a system whereby for written hospital complaints only one in 375 is actually formally investigated. That is absolutely appalling.”
The previously unpublished data is the work of Professor Sir Brian Jarman, who pioneered the use of hospital standardized mortality ratios (HSMRs), as a way of measuring whether death rates are higher or lower than expected and which are adjusted for factors such as age and the severity of the illness.
Professor Jarman spent more than a decade collecting hospital data from six other advanced economy countries, adjusting them where possible to take into account the different health systems. When the figures were projected to 2012, the hospital death rates were improved; however, the death rate is still 45 percent higher than the U.S.
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh told Channel 4 News: ” We still have too many patients dying in our hospitals when their relatives were expecting them to come home.”