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Clinical staff discussing notes in a corridor

Each year the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), on behalf of NHS England, publishes the consultant outcomes for 13 national clinical audits.

This is a major breakthrough in NHS transparency. It leads a push to give patients more information about their treatment, helping the NHS drive up and maintain the quality of care.

The data will initially be refreshed annually and publishing of data in this way is mandatory.

You can read more via the links below or on the HQIP webpages.


Consultant Outcomes

National clinical audit Specialty Procedures included in COP
British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons National Audit Thyroid and endocrine surgery Thyroidectomy, lobectomy, isthmusectomy
British Association of Urological Surgeons Urological Surgery Nephrectomy
British Cardiovascular Intervention Society Audit of Adult Intervention Interventional cardiology Percutaneous Coronary Interventions
British Society of Urogynaecology Audit Database Urogynaecology Stress incontinence
National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit Adult cardiac surgery All cardiac surgery
National Bariatric Surgery Register Bariatric surgery Gastric bypass, gastic banding, sleeve gastrectomy
National Bowel Cancer Audit Colorectal surgery Bowel tumour removal
National Head and Neck Cancer Audit Head and neck surgery Head and neck cancer removal
National Joint Registry Orthopaedic surgery Hip replacement, knee replacement, ankle replacement, elbow replacement, shoulder replacement
National Lung Cancer Audit Lung cancer Lung cancer surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy
National Neurosurgery Audit Programme Neurosurgery Multiple
National Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Audit Upper-gastro intestinal surgery Stomach cancer removal, oesophageal cancer removal
National Vascular Registry Vascular Surgery Abdominal aortic aneurism, carotid endarterectomy


How can I use the data?

The information published so far 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’. You can use this data to decide which consultant to choose for your care. However, 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.


What will the NHS do where consultants have high mortality rates?

Any hospital or consultant identified as an outlier will be investigated and action taken to improve data quality and/or patient care.


Where does the data come from?

The data comes from national clinical audits which continuously review medical practice to check that it is safe and seek ways to improve it. These audits are managed by ‘audit providers’ (usually academic institutions such as a university or royal college) which work with the specialist association. A specialist association is an independent, membership organisation, which represents a particular medical specialty.


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