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Surgery death rates revealed

30th May 2008

Hospital mortality rates for some types of surgery are to be published by the NHS.

surgeonatwork

The data is scheduled to appear on the NHS Choices website from September with areas likely to be covered being common operations such as hip and knee replacements and oesophageal and aortic aneurysm surgery.

The aim is to help provide information on the outcomes of a range of common operations, with the death rates just one of a range of planned measures.

Pressure has grown to release such information in the wake of the Bristol Royal Infirmary baby heart deaths, when surgeons with higher than average death rates continued to operate on children.

However, surgeons argue it is more straightforward to show the success of cardiac surgery - where data is already available - because it is often a matter of life or death whereas procedures such as hip replacements are more difficult to measure as success is often determined by a patient’s experience.

The Department of Health wants to increase the information available to clinicians and patients about how different hospitals perform in order to help clinicians improve their work and also to assist patients when selecting the hospital they want to have their operation at.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Surgeons said: “Measuring the right things is vital if patients are to get useful information on the outcomes for their surgery.?

But the RCS wants this to include a patient point of view as well as statistics to help the data become more meaningful.

 

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