Local NHS chief executive says Tendring is in a public health crisis
PUBLISHED: 05:30 03 May 2019
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An East Anglian health chief says a public health crisis in Tendring, where mortality rates have soared to the highest in the country, must be addressed.
The latest figures, released by the Office for National Statistics for 2017, shows Tendring has the highest death rate in the country, at nearly double neighbouring Colchester.
The figures show the number of registered deaths at 15.5 deaths per 1,000 of the population in comparison to the UK national average of 9.2.
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Nick Hulme said the figures showed a public health crisis that must be resolved.
He said: “The public health crisis - and I do not use this term lightly - in Tendring is something we must assess.
“No matter what indicator you look at, we need to do something as a system.
“We can't sit by any further.”
Chief medical officer Angela Tillett added the figures for the year could be higher due to a larger than usual number of winter deaths in the elderly population during the year, in line with national trends.
While she accepted the mortality rate was “well above” the national average and not where the trust “wants them to be”, she said the trust would be taking added steps to ensure the issue was resolved.
As part of new plans, the trust has pledged to introduce medical examiners to give an added level of supervision and insight. The role will see added scrutiny in to deaths.
Explaining the role, national medical examiner Dr Alan Fletcher said: “Medical examiners are the last piece of the jigsaw of ensuring patient safety when someone dies; their role is not to investigate but to detect and pass on.”
Other plans to improve the rate include working closer with community partners.
Elsewhere in the trust's jurisdiction, both Essex and Suffolk as a whole reported higher mortality rates than the national average, with 10.0 and 10.4 respectively.
Colchester and Ipswich, whose hospitals are now linked following a 2018 merger, reported lower rates than the national average with Colchester at 8.6 compared to Ipswich's 8.7.