PERFORMANCE: Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust is to begin formally reviewing around 800 deaths a year after finding it has an unusually high mortality rate and was unable to identify what proportion of deaths were avoidable.

The trust said its hospital standardised mortality ratio, identified by Dr Foster, was due to coding, and was in part down to data from the Sobell House Hospice being included in its figures.

Board papers from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire primary care trust cluster described the HSMR score of 107 as “significantly higher than expected”.

The indicator, for 2010-11, was assessed as part of Dr Foster’s annual Hospital Guide for 2011, due to be published in full later this year.

The PCT cluster said: “The ORH has had a high HSMR and has tried to address this by improving the quality of the hospital data it provides… the ORH has completed an extensive notes audit in an attempt to reduce the HSMR.

“It is essential that the ORH has a good understanding of the deaths that occur in its hospitals and the proportion of these that may be avoidable.

“The ORH did not have a satisfactory process in place to achieve this across the trust, but is now implementing a standardised approach to mortality review.

“This will lead to the formal review of approximately 800 deaths per year across the trust.”