Epsom, Sutton and St Helier hospitals are among the safest in the country, according to a new report.

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide, an annual study that compares hospitals throughout the country, was published last week, naming Epsom and St Helier hospital trust as one of just 29 trusts, out of a total of 143 assessed, where the number of patients who die is significantly lower than expected.

This measure is called a ‘hospital standardised mortality ratio’ (HSMR) - an indicator of whether the death rate at a hospital is higher or lower than you would expect.  It looks at the activity in a hospital where risk of death is significant, and compares how many people would be expected to die with the actual rate of death.

Epsom, Sutton and St Helier hospitals have an HSMR of 92.05, which is 7.95 per cent lower than the expected death rate.

Matthew Hopkins, the trust’s chief executive, said the result is a "fantastic achievement" which proves patients receive some of the safest care in the country at Epsom, Sutton and St Helier.

He said: "Being in the list of top hospitals is something we are very proud of, and it gives a clear message to our patients and local people that the care we provide is compassionate and safe.

"Whilst we are proud to be listed as some of the safest hospitals in England and Wales, we are not complacent, and must continue to work hard to maintain - and further improve - our low mortality rates."

Dr Ruth Charlton, the trust’s joint medical director, who leads on the Epsom site, added: "It's excellent news to see our ongoing commitment to our patients' safety is really paying off."

A spokeswoman for the trust said its HSMR data shows there is no significant difference in its mortality rates for patients admitted at the weekend or on weekdays.

She also said the Dr Foster report highlighted that the trust needed to improve its readmission rates, where patients who have recovered and been discharged need hospital treatment again within a certain period of time.

Epsom councillor George Crawford, who chaired the council’s health liaison panel last year, congratulated the trust.

He said: "Whilst from time to time I have been the trust’s worst critic, it is important that I congratulate all those who work so hard at our hospitals.

"The performance and the response of senior management and all those employed by the trust over the past year is nothing short of outstanding, and I would ask all residents and those responsible for the financing of the hospitals to get behind the team in order that it might continue to prosper in the coming year.

"Who knows, we might be able to stand alone in the not too distant future."