Medway NHS Foundation Trust* is in special measures following the Keogh Review.

There are 267 Trusts overall within the UK. The Keogh review looked at the 14 NHS Trusts within the UK with the highest death toll (mortality rates) from 2011-2012.

These mortality rates are based upon a scoring system that accounts for different case mixes – for instance accepting there are more deaths in Hospitals with higher risk patients. A score of over 100 is above the national average.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has one of the highest mortality rates in the UK with a score of:  

  • 118 for deaths in Hospital in 2011 (highest mortality rates out of the 14 Trusts reviewed).
  • 118 for deaths in Hospital in 2012 (2nd highest mortality rates with the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust out of the 14 Trusts reviewed).
  • 171 for deaths in Hospital or within 30 days of discharge (5th highest mortality rates out of the 14 Trusts reviewed).

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt who reviewed these figures said that “No statistics are perfect but mortality rates suggest that since 2005 thousands more people may have died than would normally be expected at the 14 trusts reviewed.”

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, who led the review said: “Higher mortality rates do not always point to deaths which could have been avoided but they do act as a ‘smoke alarm’ indicator that there could be issues with the quality of care.”

It is because these mortality rates acted as a ‘smoke alarm’ that the Keogh Inquiry took place.

Following the review Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said: “Not one of these trusts has been given a clean bill of health by my review teams. These reviews have been highly rigorous and uncovered previously undisclosed problems.”

These problems included poor staffing levels, lack of communication, low levels of clinical cover and much more.

11 of the 14 Trusts reviewed have been placed in special measures. Medway NHS Foundation Trust was one of the 11.

Jeremy Hunt said that Medway NHS Foundation Trust ‘had problems so entrenched that tough action was needed.’

Nick Fairweather, Head of Medical Negligence at Fairweathers Solicitors LLP, commented: “This is a deeply troubling review coming hot on the heels of the Mid Staffordshire scandal. It highlights once again the need for leadership and proper management in the NHS. It is regrettable that the ability to interface clinical and managerial governance effectively seems to be beyond the reach of so many Trusts, including Medway. Let’s hope that special measures bring lasting improvements”  


*Medway NHS Foundation Trust is made up of Medway Maritime Hospital, Crowborough Hospital, Edenbridge Hospital, Sevenoaks Hospital, Sittingbourne Hospital, Gravesham Community Hospital and a number of clinics in the Medway Towns.