Hospital Dr News

Surgeons’ performance data being published

Patients undergoing certain procedures will be able to see data about their doctor’s performance levels and how they compare to their peers.

From next month, people will not just be able to get data about mortality but other surgical outcomes, such as complications, patients’ length of stay in hospital and repeat operation rates.

The move will help to improve transparency and drive up standards, the Royal College of Surgeons said.

“What we’re trying to do here is improve the dialogue between surgeons and patients,” said Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons.

“We really do see this as a watershed moment for the profession – it is all about transparency. We want to drive up performance, we want to make people the very best they can be.”

The data, which will be published on the NHS Choices website in July, will initially pertain to around 4,000 medics across 10 different specialties – including nine surgical fields including adult heart surgery, interventional cardiology, head and neck procedures and orthopaedic surgery.

Patients will be able to look at raw data and will also be able to find their surgeon on a graph which shows whether or not they are an “outlier” of normal performance.

But Professor Williams warned that even if a doctor is deemed to be an outlier, it may not mean they are a poorly performing surgeon – it could be because the data is inaccurate or incomplete.

Some of the data “is not as mature as we would like it”, he warned.

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One Response to “Surgeons’ performance data being published”

  1. Malcolm Morrison says:

    My fear is that these sort of ‘statistics’ will be misunderstood by the public, THE PRESS, and the politicians. I would not mind betting that the media will portray some instances of ‘scandals’ where none exists!

    When I was a Registrar, I remember being told – to my initial disbelief – that “the best surgeons have the worst mortality figures”! This is because they ONLY operate on the most difficult cases and those who have had serious complications following other surgeons’ ‘mishaps’.

    NO surgery is without risk – and no disease is without risk! The ‘art’ of the doctor is to balance the ‘risk’ of doing nothing against the risk of doing something – and then choosing the ‘something’ with the least risk!

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