United Christian Hospital has highest ratio of operation deaths, says report

United Christian performed poorest in scheduled surgery, says report

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 January, 2015, 12:38am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 January, 2015, 12:38am

United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong performed worst in pre-booked operations of all public hospitals, a report revealed yesterday, with the highest ratio of unexpected patient deaths during and after surgery.

The annual report did not give a specific reason for the problems at United Christian. But it suggested a lack of manpower was to blame for poor outcomes at the worst-ranked hospital for emergency operations, North District Hospital in Sheung Shui.

However, Professor Paul Lai, director of the surgical outcomes monitoring and improvement programme run by Hospital Authority, stressed that the results should not worry patients.

"It only means that, statistically, the outcomes of some hospitals have been less than perfect compared to the others," Lai said.

"It is not meant to rank hospitals. This is only a statistical tool to help us review the performance of a hospital."

The programme, which started in 2008, looks into a series of factors to assess the performance standard of all 17 major public hospitals in the city.

The latest report recorded 24,321 operations, of which 30 per cent were emergency procedures, between July 1, 2013, and June 30 last year. The overall crude mortality rate was 7.7 per cent for planned operations and 0.5 per cent for emergencies.

The report suggested the performance of United Christian was not "quite as good" as the other hospitals in carrying out pre-booked operations.

The proportion was assessed by the ratio of observed to expected deaths among patients during or within 30 days of surgery - if the ratio is higher than one, it indicates a greater number of deaths than expected. The ratio of United Christian Hospital was 1.79 for scheduled surgery.

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan was found to have the best ratio of 0.79 for scheduled procedures.

As for emergency procedures, North District Hospital had the worst result, with a ratio of 1.24. The best hospital in this category, the Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, had a ratio of 0.79.

The study did not specify reasons for the difference in hospital performances, except North District, where Lai said 30 per cent of the problem could be attributed to a lack of doctors.

Lai also said United Christian Hospital had been urged to carry out a series of reviews to come up with an improvement plan.

All the other hospitals were performing "more or less the same", Lai said.

On the brighter note, Yan Chai Hospital in Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun Hospital, both previously poor performers, achieved the desired standard after a raft of improvements. These included extra intensive care beds and enhanced post-operative care.