Ahead of his review into hospital mortality data, an expert has advised patients to ‘ignore’ what he brands as ‘spurious’ measures.
Professor Nick Black, an academic currently commissioned by NHS England to review Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) and their use, has recently spoken out against the use of a measure he deems “spurious”, encouraging patients to simply ignore them.
HSMR have been published by Dr Foster Intelligence since 2001 and compare the expected rate of death to the actual rate of death in any given hospital. While this data has been credited with drawing attention to alarming standards of care, such as at Mid-Staffordshire hospital, Professor Black has now suggested that the data offers no use and could be misleading for patients.
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Black said: “I don’t think there’s any value in the publication of HSMR and I’d go further, I think it’s actually a distraction because it gives... a misleading idea of the quality of care of the hospital.”
He suggested that the accuracy of HSMR is compromised as the measure fails to consider other factors that could affect the figures, such as whether sufficient hospice care is available in the area.
Ahead of his full review due in December, Professor Black said that efforts should be directed towards “measures of the quality of care” and not on “a spurious measure of mortality ratios”.
His message to patients on HSMR was clear: “Personally, I would suggest the public ignore them.”