EVERY death at Basildon Hospital will be investigated as part of a plan to reduce mortality rates.

Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker, pictured, said it was one of the ways to improve care – and added she would make sure all patients are seen by a consultant within 12 hours of arriving at hospital.

Mrs Panniker spoke as a probe into the hospital was launched focusing on death rates.

Since Mrs Panniker took over in September from Alan Whittle, there have been a series of scandals, including the death of a ten-year-old epileptic girl who could not be given medication because the stock was out of date.

She said: “The mortality rates are published nine months in arrears, so the rates in question are the two-year period up to May last year, when we had above average rates.

“Getting them down is something the trust has been working on for some time. We are having daily reviews of the patients who die in the hospital, looking at why.

“Turning around a hospital with 4,500 staff and the number of patients we see is not an overnight job.

“Things are improving. Staff are more confident and patients are happier.

"These are solvable problems and we have a strong, committed workforce to help improve the quality of care.”