NHS death toll: Ten times worse than you thought

By politics.co.uk staff

Up to 13,000 NHS patients could have died unnecessarily at England's worst trusts since 2005, according to an explosive report out this week.

Campaigners have long claimed the problems at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, which led to 1,300 unnecessary deaths, were not a one-off.

Now a report from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, commissioned earlier this year by David Cameron in the aftermath of the judge-led inquiry into the deaths at Stafford hospital, will reveal ten times the number of excess deaths in 13 other NHS trusts.

It is expected to include heavy criticism of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which saw 1,600 unnecessary deaths and a mortality ratio 20% worse than the NHS average, according to Sunday newspaper reports.

Westminster's reaction to the report is set to be intensely partisan, as Tory ministers will blame the regulation system set up under the New Labour government for many of the failings.

Keogh's report is expected to show that evidence of high infection levels, major surgical errors and neglected patients should have triggered alarm bells among NHS managers and ministers.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who was in charge of the Department for Health before 2010, told Sky News: "The last Labour government introduced independent regulation to the NHS… that system was in its early days and developed during our time in government.

"That is not the actions of a government that wanted to keep everything hidden and only wanted good news stories.

"I can only tell you what I did and I'm not going to stand here and accept these general accusations at the integrity of that government… we must have done something right."

Burnham will be looking to draw attention to many of the ongoing problems the NHS faces, like the heightened death rates seen at the weekend in the NHS.

Data published by the Sunday Times today for all 161 acute NHS trusts shows an increase in weekend death rates in the vast majority of trusts on 2011/12 numbers.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to tell MPs this week that up to ten of the 14 NHS trusts are 'failed regimes' which require further action.