Scottish Government
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Hospital mortality

Assessment of patient safety in NHS Lanarkshire

An assessment of patient safety is to be undertaken in NHS Lanarkshire by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Latest figures on Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) have shown that while overall hospital mortality has fallen over the last five years, two hospitals in NHS Lanarkshire have high standardised mortality ratios for the latest quarter.

NHSScotland Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch has asked Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to work with NHS Lanarkshire to examine their approach to patient safety.

Figures published today by ISD Scotland show that Scotland’s HSMR has fallen by 11.6 per cent since the last quarter of 2007.

Prof Leitch said:

“We expect all health boards to ensure patient safety is their top priority and the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) has been working for over five years to deliver ways to make healthcare safer.

“Although a high hospital standardised mortality rate (HSMR) is not by itself a definitive measure of the quality and safety of care, it serves as an important prompt for further investigation.

“Where HSMR suggests a potential issue, a health board must be able to demonstrate that it is taking appropriate action to investigate and resolve any problems found to be causing a higher than expected HSMR, and it is reassuring that NHS Lanarkshire is already working on an action plan to address this.

“That is why I have also commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to undertake a rapid assessment, in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire, of the reasons behind the HSMR figures in Lanarkshire and to see if the improvement measures in place can be strengthened and accelerated.”

The review will help to understand if there are any underlying issues which require additional support to be resolved.

NHS Lanarkshire are already working on an action plan to help improve patient safety, and will work closely with HIS on their assessment.

Although Monklands and Wishaw have been identified as having an above average HSMR rate, the assessment will look at Monklands, Wishaw and Hairmyres hospitals.

Dr Iain Wallace, Medical Director for NHS Lanarkshire said:

“Our priority is for patients to receive the highest quality of care every time and we have a clear focus on the provision of safe and effective patient care.

“We very much welcome the support and involvement of HIS to undertake an assessment of the local action plans we are progressing, along with their detailed review to identify any further improvement measures that can be implemented.

Robbie Pearson, Director of Scrutiny and Assurance for Healthcare Improvement Scotland said:

"We will carry out a rigorous and independent review of NHS Lanarkshire. Our work will be driven and underpinned by a commitment to improving the safety and quality of care for patients, and patient interests will be placed first at all times.

“We have today published the Terms of Reference and Review Plan. In due course, our final review report will also be made public.”

Notes to editors

Quarterly HSMR statistics are available from

It is anticipated that HIS will report to the Scottish Government on their findings and recommendations by the end of 2013.

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