Surgeons can opt out of NHS tables rating their performance for fear of medical negligence claims

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Surgeons can opt out of NHS tables rating their performance for fear of medical negligence claims

 Proposed league tables for hospital consultants are supposed to cover data for survival rates and quality of care in 10 specialities which could result in fewer medical negligence claims.  The areas include:

  • cardiac
  • vascular
  • orthopaedic surgery 

In theory Patients can look at the league tables and see how well their consultant has been performing.  Whether this will leave the Patient in a state of dread remains to be seen but it might make them feel more comfortable about potential medical negligence claims. 

NHS on medical negligence claims

A spokeswoman for NHS England said:

“Around 96% of consultants across 10 specialities who have responded have opted into the publication of data about their performance, which patients should have the right to see.  We urge all consultants to think very carefully about the effect on their patients and their colleagues if they choose to opt out on the basis of legislation designed to protect personal data.  It heralds a new level of openness but there is some way to go before the NHS is as transparent as it should be.”

“The experience with the publication of cardiac data strongly suggests that consultant surgeons who do feel uncomfortable quickly come on board when they see the enormous benefits publication brings to their patients and to themselves.”

Department of Health?

A Department of Health spokesman said:

“If there are legal grounds for individual doctors opting out, any patient and their family would be entitled to ask why and may prefer their operation to be carried out by someone who was prepared to be fully transparent.”

University Hospital of South Manchester

The first batch of ratings will be published on 13th June 2013 by the University Hospital of South Manchester starting with cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons.

UHSM cardiac surgeon Ben Bridgewater said:

“Most doctors have always welcomed transparency. The problem in the past has been about credibly and fairly producing the metrics and reporting them in real time so doctors, and now patients, can review performance.  In cardiac and thoracic surgery, we surgeons have been pushing for weaknesses to be improved so that we can give our patients the best possible service and outcome. After all, at the end of the day it’s our names above the bed.”

To look at the results click here.

British Medical Association (BMA)

Dr Paul Flynn, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee, said:

“Publishing data for individual consultants is complex. Some consultants may take on higher-risk cases that would lead to raised mortality rates. Some patients will have multiple health problems which can increase the likelihood of complications.  It is critical that any information provided is accurate and in context. If not, it will be misleading and cause unnecessary anxiety to patients.”

What Do The Specialists Say about medical negligence claims?

David Healey of Carter & Carter Solicitors said:

“Using blunt statistics like this to assess how well a consultant is doing can seem quite crude bearing in mind potential complications which can arise in any surgery.  That said, if it makes Hospitals and surgeons more careful it can only be a good thing.”

 “The Government constantly blame lawyers for the compensation culture and for acting on behalf of Patients when treatment has gone wrong but let’s face it, if Hospitals and Surgeons weren’t negligent then there wouldn’t be any medical negligence claims.”

We can help with medical negligence claims

David Healey at Carter & Carter Solicitors is very experienced in handling medical negligence claims as well as a variety of other accident compensation claims such as serious injury claims, fatalities, catastrophic injuries and amputations to name just a few.

Get in touch now about your medical negligence claim

If you think that you have may have a medical negligence claim, would like to have a chat about a potential claim or require further information, contact David Healey.

Our Free phone number is 0800 652 0586 

My Direct Dial is 01663 761 892 


Email me on [email protected]