University Hospitals Birmingham NHS foundation trust is being reviewed by the Care Quality Commission because data has shown that its death rates for heart surgery are substantially outside the acceptable range.
All surgery carries risk but by comparing data from heart surgeons around the country it is possible to analyse whether the mortality rate is higher than it should be. Here the unexpected figures have led to an investigation into what may be the cause.
The report is awaited, but the chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC has said that inspectors have found concerns with the "safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of the service."
At present no individual cases have been reported where failings at the Trust have caused deaths which could otherwise have been avoided.
One of the country’s best-known hospitals has been told to report weekly to inspectors on the results of its adult heart operations after it was discovered too many of its patients were dying during and after treatment. The Guardian can reveal that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Birmingham before Christmas after it was alerted to the high death rate in open-heart surgery. Calculations by the Guardian suggest that 17 people may have died over the last three years who should have survived.