NHS England publishes information on the performance of individual hospital consultants. The aim is to give patients more information about their treatment, helping the NHS drive up and maintain the quality of care.
You can search the data by location or surgeon on the My NHS website.
How can I use the data?
The information published includes how many times each participating consultant has performed certain procedures and what their mortality rate is for those procedures. You can see whether or not the data for each consultant is within or outside the expected range. Consultants who fall outside the expected range are sometimes referred to as “outliers”.
There are some important issues to bear in mind when looking at the data. For instance, the vast majority of the data has been through a process known as “risk adjustment”.
This is a way of accounting for the different mix of patients operated on by a particular consultant’s team. Using risk adjustment, outcomes are calculated as if all consultants operated on the “average” patient. This means that consultants who take on particularly poorly, high-risk patients or carry out the most complicated procedures don’t appear to have an unfairly high mortality rate.
However, not all the data can be “averaged out” in this way. Specific reasons for this are outlined in the introductory text for each set of results. Where risk-adjusted data is not available, actual (also called “crude”) clinical outcomes are shown. If the data is not risk-adjusted, a consultant may have a higher mortality rate simply because he or she takes on more difficult cases.
If you have questions or concerns having viewed specific results, please discuss these with your GP or consultant.