Patients 'being coded as palliative to cut death rates', inquiry told
Patients with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are being coded under palliative care to reduce death rates, a leading expert has told the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry.
This is a useful tool, the LCP (
Liverpool Care Pathway).
It is not a slur to say it is the LKP (a Licence to Kill People).
This is Mail Online -
Is company being paid to help the NHS hide its death rates? Critics say firm 'reclassifies' potentially avoidable deaths
- Firm said it could help reduce death rates by re-categorising deaths as being caused by terminal illness rather than poor care
Hospitals may be paying thousands of pounds to a private firm to cover up their patient death rates.
Critics are concerned they are hiring a company called CHKS to ‘re-classify’ potentially avoidable deaths.
The firm – which advises hospitals on improving overall performance – has strongly denied the claims.
|Allegation: The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust allegedly offered data recorder |
Sandra Haynes Kirkbright thousands of pounds to 'fix' its death rates. Pictured is
Wolverhampton Heart and Lung Centre, New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton
On Saturday the Mail revealed that one trust, the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals, allegedly offered data recorder Sandra Haynes Kirkbright thousands of pounds to ‘fix’ its death rates. The trust denied her claims.
Another NHS trust, Bolton University, is under investigation for apparently re-classifying needless deaths and its chief executive has ‘stepped aside’.
Obscene: Julie Bailey, who founded the group Cure the NHS said the NHS is for caring for patients, not to try and manipulate figures
In 2008, CHKS claimed it could help hospitals reduce their death rates by re-categorising deaths as being caused by a terminal illness rather than poor care.
It sent a notice to NHS trusts stating: ‘Adjusting the mortality index to exclude these deaths reduced the hospital’s score by just over a third – most hospitals would consider 5 per cent as a good achievement.’
The firm is hired by around 120 NHS trusts to give advice on reducing spending, improving care and cutting waiting times. But there is concern it is also offering advice on reclassifying death rates.
Julie Bailey, who founded the group Cure the NHS after her mother died in the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, said: ‘It’s obscene. We are talking about people’s lives here.
‘What the NHS should be for is to care for patients not to try and manipulate [figures] after people have died to disguise it.’
Jason Harries, managing director of CHKS said its auditors follow Department of Health coding rules.
‘If for example CHKS is recommending coding for palliative care (re-classifying cause of death as due to terminal illness) it is because specialist or generalist palliative care is recorded in the clinical notes and coders have missed it, not because it improves mortality rates,’ he said.