Dozens of patients died within 30 days of breaking their hip after being admitted to Southend Hospital in one year, an audit has found.

Southend Hospital dealt with 462 hip fractures during 2018, according to the latest annual National Hip Fracture Database report by the Royal College of Physicians.

Of these, 38 people died within 30 days of sustaining the fracture.

At 8.2 per cent, the hospital had one of the highest mortality rates of the 177 trauma units across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the average rate was 6.1 per cent.

Southend Hospital has repeatedly struggled with a shortage of beds in recent years, often because elderly patients cannot be discharged into the community.

Of the patients treated at Southend, 117 – 25 per cent – had not been discharged to their home or original residence within 120 days of their injury.

David Walker, chief medical officer, Mid and South Essex University Hospital’s Group, said: “Falls resulting in injury are common in adults aged 65 and above. Southend Hospital cares for a higher than average population of over 65s.

“A high number of people in this age group also have long-term health conditions related to diabetes, heart and chest or dementia. Age-adjusted mortality rates that take into account our older population mean our 2018 30-day mortality rate reduces from 8.2 per cent to 6.9 per cent - the national average is 6.1 per cent.”

Mr Walker added: “Hip fractures increase an older person’s risk of death and long term conditions can affect recovery from hip fractures.

“We employ specialists who work with these high risk patients on falls prevention, bone health and to address pre-existing medical conditions. “

Charity Age UK says hip fractures are a “serious threat to older people’s health”, and is calling for the prevention of falls to become a priority for the NHS.