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Surgeons must publish mortality rates

Posted in: Medical Negligence NHS Claims 

NHS England’s medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, has warned all surgeons that if they fail to publish their mortality rates, they could face sanctions. Sir Bruce said that this step had to be taken to improve the safety of patients within the NHS, with penalties being enforced if this regulation is not followed.  On Wednesday performance data for around 5,000 surgeons in England is to be released online.

Despite this new regulation, many surgeons have contested this change, arguing that mortality rates can often be misleading.  The point has also been raised that this may discourage consultants from taking on difficult cases that could affect their performance report.  

Some doctors will pass on their responsibilities

Sir Bruce acknowledged these points, but said that the issue of mortality rates was “not going to go away”.  He said: “If you want to progress with your clinical excellence award, if you have refused to allow your data to be published, then that will affect your progression.”

Sir Bruce said that the change could result in the NHS losing a number of doctors, but made the point that it was better for the NHS to have slightly fewer doctors that were willing to perform at a high standard.  He said that there are many surgeons that only carry out a small number of minor operations, and it is expected that many of them will “pass on those operations to their colleagues.”

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