MORTALITY rates at Buckinghamshire hospitals have fallen - with health bosses saying it's down to services being centralised.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was placed into special measures last year following the review by Sir Bruce Keogh, which found higher than average patient mortality rates during the period from October 2010 to December 2012.

Annet Gamell, Chief Clinical Officer for the Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group, said at a meeting of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee today that rates have been reduced further from figures released in November which showed the Trust was in the 'as expected' range.

No official figures were mentioned during the meeting, but Dr Gamell said the increase was because patients were able to be seen quicker as they knew which hospital they needed to visit.

She added there are now fewer 'off site' transfers between hospitals in the county as a result. Concerns at the number of transfers between Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville was a key finding of the Keogh review.

Dr Gamell said: "The mortality rate at the hospitals has reduced.

"Outcomes are better for people getting to the right service with the right seniority and experience of clinicians at the front door, being able to assess patients and get them treated as soon as possible."

But Trust chief executive Anne Eden said patient death reviews need to be improved so each mortality is properly assessed.

She said: "We are around the 75 per cent or so margin. The ambition is to get to a place where each and every death is reviewed within a sensible timeframe."

She added 94.9 per cent of inpatients are seen within four hours of arrival at A&E - narrowly below the 95 per cent target - and more than 80 per cent of complaints received by the Trust are resolved within the appropriate timeframe.