An initial review of the Basildon Hospital in Essex by the Health and Social Care Information Centre found that between July 2010 and June 2012, mortality ratios were “persistently high”.

In an article published on April 21 2013, the Sunday Express referred to the findings of Professor Sir Brian Jarman, who estimates that up to 2,500 patients have died needlessly at the Basildon hospital over the past decade, with more than 500 of those in the past 2 years. Sir Brian, who works at Imperial College London and is head of the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit on hospital deaths, carried out the analysis (unpublished) on behalf of the Sunday Express.

Basildon Hospital, part of the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is already the subject of an ongoing independent investigation into its paediatric services set up in November 2012 by the Care Quality Commission following the death of a girl and a medication overdose of a baby.

A spokesman for the trust said. “The trust is sorry if any patients or families feel any aspect of care was poor and will investigate their concerns to ensure any lessons which can be learnt are.”

Gwen Kirby-Dent, clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Chelmsford office says: “Sadly loss of life is too often the trigger for reviews when in fact the hospital must have been aware of problems before then. There needs to be openness about any failings of systems as well as of individuals if there is to be real improvement and further tragedies are to be avoided.”