‘Moral responsibility’ to publish death rates

Following the release of 5,000 surgeon’s death rates, transparency crusader Sir Bruce Keogh firmly believes it is the right move and is owed to the public.

NHS transparency receives mixed response from NHS

NHS transparency receives mixed response from NHS

‘Anyone who does an intervention to somebody else has a professional and moral responsibility to be able to describe what they do and defend how well they do it. That is the essence of professionalism. They should be happy to share that with their patients. In a sense what this endeavour does is demonstrate a new level of professionalism.’ He explains, justifying how hard he pushed to achieve this landmark in transparency.

Via the NHS Choices and MYNHS websites, patients will now be able to search and compare the death rates for their potential surgeon, as well as the death rates for the hospital.

John MacFie, the president of the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations described the move as crude and potentially misleading. He added, ‘There is now good anecdotal evidence that shows publishing this data has encouraged risk-averse behaviour, which is not in the interest of patients. I believe that the data should only be published after any concerns in a surgeon’s performance have been investigated.’

Despite an air of controversy spreading through the NHS regarding the decision, the Royal College of surgeons said it supports NHS England’s decision to provide more transparency for patients.