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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > North Cumbria welcomes national review team

North Cumbria welcomes national review team

Posted on Friday 26th April 2013
cumberland infirmary flowers

Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust will next month welcome a rapid response review team as part of a national review being led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh medical director of the NHS in England.

Rapid response review teams will visit 14 NHS trusts across England which have been identified as mortality outliers for the past two consecutive years using either the Summary Hospital Level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) or the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR), or in some cases, both.

In North Cumbria, the trust has recorded a higher than average mortality ratio in relation to the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) only and is within the expected range using the SHMI indicator*. 

On 7 May, a rapid response review team is expected to start its review in North Cumbria and visit the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven as part of coordinated ‘announced visits’ with further ‘unannounced visits’ to take place later in May. 

During both sets of visits, the rapid response review team will talk to staff, patients and the public as they observe North Cumbria’s hospitals in action. A number of ‘listening events’ are also being organised for stakeholders to ensure everyone’s views are captured with details to be shared in the coming weeks.   

The purpose of the Keogh Review is to help those trusts identified as having a higher than average mortality ratio on their journey of improvement. Rapid response review teams will work with trusts to identify where any additional actions, over and above those that have already been taken locally, may be necessary to really raise the bar on quality and the safety of care and treatment.

They will also ensure that trusts have any necessary external support to ensure quality is at the forefront of the agenda and that the high standards expected of the NHS, and outlined in law in the NHS Constitution, are lived up to locally. 

North Cumbria is amongst the first of the 14 NHS trusts in England being visited as part of the Keogh Review, something which is wholeheartedly welcomed by the trust and follows extensive work which is already underway to improve quality and safety.

Dr Jeremy Rusher, director of clinical transformation at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We have taken a very open and proactive approach to understanding our mortality rates over the past two years and very much welcome this national review to make absolutely sure that we are now on the right track and moving forwards on our improvement journey at the right pace.

“This review gives us a further, important, opportunity to really scrutinise ourselves, to take stock of the work we have done so far to improve safety, and to hold a mirror up to the organisation to understand where quality still needs to be much better.

“Everyone has the right to expect the very best quality of care from their local NHS and people in North Cumbria can be reassured that we are absolutely focussed on listening to our staff and putting our patients, their safety and wellbeing at the very heart of everything we do – day in, day out.”

Outcomes from the North Cumbria visits are not expected until summer and will be published by NHS England following the completion of rapid response team visits to all 14 trusts being reviewed by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and his team.

For more information about the Keogh mortality review visit: 


*The ‘Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio’ (HSMR) used by Dr Foster Intelligence in the annual Dr Foster Good Hospital Guide only accounts for around 80 per cent of deaths which occur in hospital and covers a set number of clinical diagnoses including palliative care. 

Recognising this, and after much consultation with clinical experts from across the country, in April 2011 the Department of Health introduced a new mortality measure known as the 'Standardised Hospital Mortality Indicator' (SHMI) as the standard industry wide measure for the NHS.  The SHMI examines 100 per cent of deaths – not only those which occur in hospital but those which occur in the community up to 30 days after a patient has been discharged.