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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 13:33 UK

Mortality statistics

Mid Staffordshire NHS Hospital
More or Less
Friday, 28 May 2010
BBC Radio 4, 1330 BST

Last year newspapers reported that between 400 and 1200 patients died at Mid Staffordshire Hospital because of poor care.

The estimate comes from a statistic called a 'standardised mortality ratio'.

But what is a standardised mortality ratio?

And does it really tell us what we think it tells us?

Toasters v sharks

Shark
Research shows that bee stings and lightning strikes also kill more people than sharks

The claim that toasters are ten times more dangerous than sharks keeps popping up (sorry about that).

But can it be true?

Charlotte Pritchard unravels the origins of a strange statistical comparison.

Martin Gardner and the Tuesday Boy problem

Martin Gardner
Martin Gardner died on 22 May 2010 aged 95 in Oklahoma, USA

Last week the More or Less team was saddened to hear of the death of Martin Gardner, the writer and journalist who captured the imagination of millions with his mathematical puzzles and columns in Scientific American.

We discuss all things Gardner and pose a puzzle he would have enjoyed.

Child Trust Fund
Payments will be reduced from August and stopped by January

Child trust funds

This week the government announced the end of Child Trust Funds.

Many parents will be sad to see them go.

But who really benefitted from them?

Tim is joined by Paul Lewis from Money Box, who explains how an apparently small annual charge can quickly mount up.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 1330 BST and is repeated on Sunday, 30 May at 2000 BST.

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SEE ALSO
Can we trust the data on hospitals?
27 Nov 09 |  Health
Have your say: Child Trust Funds
09 Sep 09 |  Moneybox
How best to fight off a shark?
19 Jan 06 |  Magazine


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