NHS finds postmodern solution to older patient mortality crisis

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arlington-tombstone-hope Public Health England has declared its solution to the recent rise in death rates among elderly people: it will stop publishing them.

The most recent PHE report on mortality rates, which showed that death rates among older people have been higher than expected in the last year, caused widespread concern.

PHE has stated that, following the negative publicity that the last one incurred, these reports will cease.

The last report said: “When we focus on mortality over 75, we observe rapidly increasing mortality for both males and females, presenting throughout 2012, and continuing into 2013.”

Experts had suggested that this increase might be linked to recent cuts in support services, or to greater prevalence of certain infectious diseases.

At the time, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham called for an “urgent investigation” into the reasons for the rise in mortality rates.

A PHE spokesman commented on the decision: “Having reviewed similar activity across PHE it was decided that this work didn’t add to the analysis conducted by the respiratory diseases team at Colindale.”

Responding to a query from the Health Service Journal, NHS England’s Deputy Medical Director Steve Field said: “I really don’t know what the causes are but… patients are getting increasingly elderly and more and more complex. Vulnerable people, including the vulnerable elderly, need seamless services.”

The solution, he argued, would lie in “collaboration at a local level” to integrate health, mental health and social care.