The number of Scots dying within a month of receiving hospital treatment was 20% lower than had been predicted, new figures indicate.
Between July and September 2018, the standardised mortality rates show fewer people than expected died within 30 days of their hospital admission.
During that time, there were 5,931 deaths during the 30 days after patients were admitted to hospital.
The official figures are based on information from acute inpatient and day-case patients admitted to all medical and surgical specialities in NHS Scotland.
The Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMRs) for the period was calculated at 0.80 – slightly down from 0.81 between April and June 2018.
If an overall HSMR is less than one this means the number of deaths within 30 days of admission to hospital is fewer than predicted.
Of the hospitals involved in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, 17 out of 29 have reduced mortality ratios by more than 10% during the last quarter compared to the start of 2014.
Across Scotland, the average decrease of HSMRs was 13.2% since the first quarter of 2014, with quality of care and the medical treatments available at hospitals among the factors cited as reasons for the improvements.
Welcoming the news, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Along with a number of other factors, our world leading Scottish Patient Safety Programme continues to make an impact to improve the quality and safety of patient care.
“The latest figures show that the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) has fallen by 13.2% since the first quarter of 2014 and that there were 20% fewer deaths in the latest quarter than predicted.
“While not being the only factor in the reduction, the safety programme continues to improve the safety of healthcare, ensuring better outcomes for patients.
“The hard work of thousands of staff across the country helped Scotland to achieve our target of a 10% reduction in hospital standardised mortality by December 2018 – 15 months earlier than planned.”