A new mortality indicator is hoped to improve patient safety in the NHS.
The Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) compares the actual number of patients who die following treatment at a trust, with the number who would be expected to die in light of the nature of patients treated at that facility.
It is hoped that the indicator will act as a single comprehensive index that trusts can learn from to improve their performance.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley stated: "This new measure will help ensure patient safety by acting like a smoke alarm to prompt further investigation.
"Alongside other data, this will help the NHS in the future spot and act on poor care as soon as possible."
The government are also determined that the new indicator will help avoid such appalling incidents as happened at Mid-Staffordshire.
In 2009, between 400 and 1,200 excess deaths over a three-year period were found to have occurred at the Mid-Staffordshire hospital trust, which went unnoticed.
The Health Care Commission blamed the deaths on the appalling standards of NHS care within the trust.
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