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20,000 hospital deaths warning ‘ignored’

More than 20,000 hospital deaths could have been prevented if warnings about high mortality rates had been acted on quickly, a government adviser has said.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman has accused ministers and officials of ignoring data on high death rates for a decade.

Sir Brian is working on the government review of 14 hospital trusts with higher-than-average death rates in the wake of the Stafford Hospital inquiry.

The government said the inquiry report showed “failings across the system”.

Sir Brian, director of the Doctor Foster research unit at Imperial College in London, has developed systems for monitoring death rates – known as hospital standardised mortality ratios – and other data on a monthly basis.

He has been publishing such data for 12 years and it helped expose high death rates at Mid Staffs and the 14 trusts now under investigation.

Read more at BBC Health.

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