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Burnham 'acted firmly' on NHS death rates

The deaths of more than 20,000 people could have been prevented over the last decade if the Department of Health had taken action earlier as evidence of high mortality rates began to emerge.

So says Professor Sir Brian Jarman, the doctor who analysed hospital data and publishes the so-called Hospital Standard Mortality Rates that helped expose the Mid Staffs scandal and has now led to the investigation of another 14 trusts.

Former health secretary Andy Burnham said: "I passed the data to the independent regulator who had been instrumental in uncovering Mid Staffs. I don't think we have been complacent." He added: "This methodology was new and subjected to controversy. This was recognised by Robert Francis QC."

Tim Kelsey from the NHS Commissioning Board explained that "openness is the answer. We must get the data out there." He added: "We will make sure the values of the NHS are universally upheld and that is what the Commissioning Board intends to ensure."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday 16 March 2013.

  • 16 Mar 2013
  • From the section UK