Posted on 22 February 2018
In a first-of-its-kind study, the researchers looked at extensive data on hospital admissions and discharges in both countries over a 17-year period. They found that while the number of people dying in hospital has declined in both countries, it is falling substantially faster in England.
Rather than looking at deaths in individual hospitals, which often gives small amounts of data and a lot of variation, the researchers examined broader trends by looking at administrative data from across the two countries.
They distinguished between “elective” hospital admissions, where patients went into hospital for planned care, and “emergency” hospital admissions where care was unplanned. The researchers found that in-hospital mortality was falling faster in England in both cases.
Among elective admissions, while the numbers of deaths were small in both countries, in 2014 0.3% of patients died in Scotland compared with 0.1% in England. In the case of emergency admissions 4% of patients died in English hospitals versus 6% in Scottish hospitals.
The authors of the paper, published today in the British Medical Journal Open, say that further investigation is needed into why trends in hospital mortality are different in the two countries with otherwise similar healthcare systems. Read more