The NHS Information Centre has today published a new Summary Hospital-level Mortality indicator (SHMI). The indicator is for non-specialist acute trusts, and covers all deaths of patients admitted to hospital and those that occur up to 30 days after discharge from hospital. The indicator is also being published on NHS Choices.
The SHMI is being published quarterly as an official statistic, but to reflect the fact that more work needs to be carried out to refine the methodology, the indicator is being regarded as ‘experimental’ for its first publication, and it will take time for Trusts to interpret exactly what the new SHMI means.
The indicator has been developed in collaboration with a range of national stakeholders following a review commissioned in 2010 by Sir Bruce Keogh, on behalf of the National Quality Board. The review was chaired by Ian Dalton in his role as Chief Executive of NHS North East SHA, and involved a wide range of stakeholders.
The monitoring of mortality in conjunction with a wider range of indicators is established as good practice in the context of Trusts’ local accountability, clinical governance and reporting. The SHMI marks an advance in adding to the information that the NHS has at its disposal to help understand mortality associated with hospitalisation.
Participants in the review had different perspectives on the statistical approaches to developing the SHMI. However there was widespread agreement on the need for experts to come together to review existing measures and to agree a new indicator that could help the NHS to have a deeper understanding of hospital mortality. A consensus statement has been signed by participants.
Read the consensus statement
The National Quality Board said:
‘The National Quality Board welcomes the publication of the new Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator. This represents the culmination of a review into hospital mortality indicators recommended by the first Francis Inquiry into the events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
‘The group of experts from across the NHS and the commercial sector, who conducted this review on the Board’s behalf, have thoughtfully worked through some of the key strengths and weaknesses of hospital mortality measures. The resulting achievement is a new indicator that adds to the information available to help understand mortality associated with hospitalisation.
‘The NHS Information Centre will continue to work with the review experts and peers across the NHS to review the methodology and we support this important work to ensure that the indicator can be more widely understood by the public, patients and NHS professionals alike.’
Sally Brearley, Chair of Health Link and lay member of the National Quality Board, said:
‘It is obviously in the patient’s interest if everyone has confidence in the way quality is measured and how measures are used to bring about real improvements. Hopefully, by publishing SHMI and using it with a range of other indicators, patient’s interests can be better represented in future. After publication, it would be great to get feedback from patients and members of the public, to let us know if they have all they need to make the best use of such information.’