Deaths after major surgeries higher than national average in Northern Health region

Hospital deaths after major surgeries in the Northern Health region were higher than the national average in 2021-2022, according to a recent CIHI report.

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Northern Health’s average for deaths following major surgery was 3.3 per cent for 2021/22 (Canva)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Hospital deaths following major surgeries in the Northern Health region were higher than the provincial and national averages in 2021-2022, according to a recent Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report.

According to the CIHI report, based on data collected in 2021 and 2022, the B.C. average for hospital deaths following major surgery is 1.8 per cent, and the Canadian average is 2.0 per cent. Northern Health reported a rate of 3.3 per cent.

This makes Northern Health’s average approximately 58.82 per cent higher than the provincial average and approximately 49.09 per cent higher than the national average.  

A graph of in-hospital deaths following major surgeries. (CIHI)

Dawson Creek and District Hospital has the highest rate in Northern Health at 5.3 per cent, according to the report. CIHI told there was no specific indicator for Fort St. John Hospital on this statistic. 

The report by CIHI states that although not all deaths are preventable, reporting on and comparing mortality rates for major surgeries can increase awareness of surgical safety and may signal hospitals to investigate their care process.

The report looks at the rate of in-hospital deaths within 30 days of the procedure, per every 100 surgeries.

This report comes at the same time Northern Health announced an update on its surgery services expansion program at Fort St. John Hospital.

CIHI is a Canadian health data centre that “provides comparable and actionable data and information that are used to accelerate improvements in health care, health system performance and population health across Canada.” 

For more information about CIHI or to access the full list of information, please visit CIHI’s website

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