PERFORMANCE: A group of hospitals that have worked together to reduce death rates say they achieved above-average reductions in mortality ratios last year.

The nine northern NHS and foundation trusts, working with the Advancing Quality Alliance, collaborated with the aim of each reducing their adjusted mortality ratios by 10 points in 2010-11. Five organisations in the group were among the 27 identified as having significantly high adjusted death rates in information provider Dr Foster’s 2009 Hospital Guide.

According to a phase one report on the project released this week, adjusted mortality for the nine-hospital group reduced by more than the national and regional averages, using both Dr Foster’s measure, and that of rival data firm CHKS.

On CHKS’s measure the average adjusted rate fell 9.6 points between March and December 2010, against a six point national average fall. On Dr Foster’s measure, it fell 12.5 points between February and December, compared with a 6.8 point national average.

The group of nine trusts focused on improvements in four areas: clinical care, end of life care, documentation and coding, and leadership.

However, while the report states that leaders of the hospitals found it helpful to work collaboratively on the issue, it adds: “AQuA cannot say with certainty whether or how much collaborative participation contributed to these faster declines. Steep reduction was already taking place before the collaborative began and the relatively high rates for some teams at the beginning of the work provided added motivation to improve.”

Participants include Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Calderdale and Huddersfield, Central Manchester University Hospitals, Mid Cheshire Hospitals, Royal Bolton Hospital, Stockport, and Tameside Hospital foundation trusts; and Pennine Acute Hospital and East Lancashire Hospitals trusts.