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RCP comment on Keogh Mortality Review

Commenting on Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of mortality rates at 14 outlier NHS Trusts, Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), said:

It is clear that parts of the system must change to better meet patients’ needs.

As we highlighted in our Autumn 2012 report, Hospitals on the edge?, the NHS is struggling to cope with increasing pressures on acute services, patients with increasingly complex needs, and a breakdown of out-of-hours care.

Patients deserve high quality care that meets all of their needs. To achieve this, both the system and patient care pathways must be designed around patients’ needs. Current services no longer meet the needs of patients; we are trying to fit around outdated systems. Patients’ demands have changed and so our hospital services must change.

The RCP continues to push for a 7 day health service. We encourage transparency across the NHS, as well as the use of audit data and accreditation to drive up quality.

The RCP believes that the professionalism of doctors is crucial to preventing instances of sub-standard care. We need clinical leadership at ward level, we need clinically led service re-design, and we need collaboration between doctors, nurses, managers and other professionals.

Commenting on the review, Suzie Hughes, chair of the Patient and Carer Network at the RCP, said:

Today’s report is yet more evidence that services need to be redesigned around the patient journey. Currently we are faced with poor medical records, poor out-of-hours care and poor discharge planning.

There needs to be a learning culture for staff, where doctors, nurses and other professionals are not scared to raise concerns.

Ultimately, patients need reassurance that hospitals provide a safe service and we will only achieve this id patient safety becomes a priority at board level.

The RCP is looking to address many of the issues raised in Sir Bruce Keogh’s report in our full response to the Francis report, due for publication 3 September 2013.

The RCP’s Future Hospital Commission is examining better processes and standards for treating medical inpatients, and is due to report 12 September 2013.


For further information, please contact Andrew McCracken on +44 (0)203 075 1354 / 07990 745 608, or email andrew.mccracken@rcplondon.ac.uk

Notes to editors

The Patient and Carer Network at the Royal College of Physicians consists of patients, carers and members of the public who have opted to help the RCP develop and enhance its relationship with patients in the interest of improving healthcare.