A BOROUGH MP has taken his fears about death rates at Russells Hall Hospital to the top of the NHS.

Ian Austin met with NHS Medical Director Bruce Keogh on Tuesday (April 23) to hand over a dossier of stories from patients about their experiences in the wake of statistics showing the hospital's death rates were higher than the national average.

The Labour MP for Dudley North says his research highlights problems around inadequate staffing levels.

Mr Austin said: “I think staff at the hospital work really hard but I am concerned to hear the hospital will be reviewed because it has mortality rates significantly higher than the UK average.

"Many people told me that shortcomings in care for their relatives stemmed from over-stretched nurses and I want Bruce Keogh to look at whether staffing levels at the hospital are adequate."

Bruce Keogh pledged his review team would travel to Dudley to speak directly with patients and their families.

However the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall, says the latest figures show their death rates have fallen to within normal levels despite increasing pressure on services from an aging population with complex health needs.

Paula Clark, chief executive at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our staff are very busy given the recent increased pressures on our services and I am very grateful to them for working extremely hard to maintain high quality of care to our patients.

"Occasionally unfortunately patients do not always experience the care we would expect. We ensure we learn lessons from complaints and concerns raised by patients.

"We encourage patients and their families to feedback their views after their stay in hospital and ask if they would recommend Russells Hall Hospital to a relative or friend and we score consistently higher than the regional average."