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Heart surgeons death rates

8th August 2007

More than 200 heart surgeons - around 70% of the total number - have published their survival rates on the Healthcare Commission website.

heart surgery

Figures for 2005-2006, available on the website, show all 39 heart units in the country have "satisfactory" survival rates.

The Healthcare Commission said the data allows patients to see how heart units compare to European units. The figures also give patients an idea of how a unit has performed in relation to UK targets.

The data shows that the death rates for heart bypass operations - the most common types of surgery - were low, with 98.4% of patients surviving surgery. 20,773 operations were performed in 2005-06.

The scheme to publish surgeons' survival rates for operations was brought in last year, and this year twice the amount of surgeons published data as had previously.

The surgeons' leader Bernard Ribeiro told the BBC: "The scheme is working with heart surgery, and we now have to consider how it might work for other disciplines, in the interests of improving patient choice."

He warned that the process would be costly and the government needed to provide help for it to succeed.

Calls to publish death rate data were heightened in the wake of the news that surgeons with a record of high death rates "continued to operate on children" at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Chairman of the Healthcare Commission, Sir Ian Kennedy, said: "We've made a start with heart surgery; others should follow."




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