Reduction in unexpected hospital deaths

Health Secretary comments on Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio statistics

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“Our world leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme continues to have a significant contributory impact, among other factors, on the quality and safety of patient care.
“These latest Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) figures show unexpected hospital deaths have reduced by 11.2% since the first quarter of 2014 – that’s equivalent to around 10,000 lives. This has allowed thousands more people to continue to live as full a life as possible with family and friends.
“We set out to achieve a 10% reduction in hospital standardised mortality by December 2018, achieving this key aim 15 months earlier than planned.
“Our ongoing progress is testament to the hard work of thousands of staff across the country at a time when our NHS is treating more people with more complex needs.
“While not being the only factor in the reduction, the safety programme continues to improve the safety of healthcare wherever it is delivered, ensuring better outcomes for some of our most vulnerable people.”
Following a request from the Office of Statistics Regulation this release was updated on 6 December 2018.
The full statistical publication is available on the Information Services Division Scotland website, which outlines factors that could contribute to HSMR changes, including:

- reduction in underlying population-based mortality
- improvements in the quality of care and treatment; 
- increases in available medical treatments and risk factor improvements;
- reductions in injury or harm to people from healthcare they receive; 
- changes in the severity of illnesses in patients admitted to hospital; 
- changes in the provision of palliative and end-of-life care
- changes to the completeness and accuracy of hospital discharge summaries/clinical coding (See Data Quality and
Timeliness section for further information)
Our target is to reduce hospital standardised mortality by 10% from January to March 2014 (first quarter after new baseline) and October to December 2018. Against the target these statistics confirm there has already been a decrease of 11.2% between January to March 2014 (first quarter after new baseline) and April to June 2018.
No hospitals had a significantly higher standardised mortality ratio in April to June 2018 compared with the national average.
Two hospitals had a significantly lower standardised mortality ratio in April to June 2018 compared with the national average: Western General Hospital, Edinburgh (HSMR of 0.66) and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee (HSMR of 0.70).


Media enquiries

Back to top