Published: 10/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5850 Page 5

Data published by health information provider Dr Foster has shown the extent to which mortality rates in NHS trusts are both improving and worsening.

The Good Hospital Guide says Barts and the London trust's mortality rate is 'outstanding' and 39 per cent below projections, given the profile of its population, making it the best in England. Dr Foster says Walsall Hospitals trust's rate is 26 per cent higher than it should be, giving it the worst mortality rate in England.

The guide looks at various aspects of the performances of hospitals and trusts around the UK. Waiting times, confidence in doctors and staffing levels of doctors and nurses are also analysed.

St Mary's Hospital in London was 'hospital of the year', achieving eight out of 10 of the organisation's quality awards.

It was praised for providing the country's first specialist retrieval team, which can collect patients with meningitis from as far away as Cornwall.

Chief executive Julian Nettel paid tribute to his staff: 'An organisation is the sum of its people and we have a fantastic workforce. This is our staff 's success. There has been real drive and energy over the past three years to improve the way we do things for patients.'

www. drfoster. co. uk