Postcode lotteries

The Telegraph reports that ten hospitals have mortality rates far above the 'expected' level:

"The baseline for England is set at 100 and a lower figure indicates fewer patients died than expected, and a higher one means more patients died.

The latest Good Hospital Guide, compiled by Dr Foster Research, shows Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has a mortality rate of 127, meaning 27 per cent more people died at the trust than would be expected.

The highest mortality rate in England is at George Eliot Hospital Trust in Warwickshire with 143. Nine others have mortality rates at least 20 per cent above the expected level."

The answer isn't yet more centralising targets.  They don't only breed inefficiency and poor decision making but can even create as many regional imbalances as they fix.  An example is centralised pay bargaining that increases mortality in richer areas as hospitals have to overuse agency staff (PDF, article from Kent on Sunday.


Instead, putting control of the health service in the hands of patients, who can choose which hospital to visit, and doctors, with the freedom to offer the quality patients rightly demand, can bring poor performing trusts up to scratch.

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