Trust statement – palliative care code and mortality

Today’s national media story suggesting that NHS Trusts are misusing palliative care coding either to hide poor care or just manipulate mortality ratings is important and deserves discussion.  But here is the statement about the Trust’s position that appears not to have been used.

“The Trust does have a high level of palliative care coding. This is because we are one of only a handful of hospital groups to have an NHS hospice, plus possibly the only NHS trust in thepatient and nurse country to offer a seven-day-a-week palliative care service to local people.

“Despite it being clear that having excellent palliative care services will always mean our coding levels are higher than most NHS trusts, we have sought to reassure ourselves that how we do our coding is right. A recent external review of the quality of our work showed that we code the care we provide accurately and within the guidance set nationally – something we audit on an on-going basis.

“Our high level of palliative coding, therefore, reflects one of the best palliative care services available anywhere, which means that terminally ill patients are getting good care, every day of the week.”

Nick Carver, Chief Executive

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust