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League table opt-out medics named

Surgeons who have refused to publish data about how well they perform during operations have been named as officials launch the first performance league tables for medics.

The tables - central to Government plans for a more transparent health service - aim to show patients how well consultants across England perform against each other.

The move, which has been hailed as a "world first", aims to "shine a light on variation and unacceptable practice".

"Very few" medics have chosen not to be included in the national tables, NHS England said.

The first tables for vascular surgery and cardiac surgery have been published on the NHS Choices website.

Patients can see the number of times a consultant has done a procedure, their mortality rates and whether or not they are performing within the "expected range". In coming months, data will become available on 3,500 medics from 10 specialities but it is understood that it will be rolled out to incorporate all surgical consultants.

Of the 472 vascular consultants who published their information, just six opted out. They were named on the NHS Choices website as Richard Bird, who works for Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, Rob Lonsdale from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Hull Royal Infirmary's Peter McCollum, Leszek Wolowczyk from Tameside Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital consultant Manmohan Madan and Patrick Kent who is understood to work at private company Spire Health in Leeds.

A Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) spokeswoman said that "fewer than 30" medics across the 10 fields did not give consent for their data to be published but none of them were deemed to be "outliers" - where their results were significantly different from others.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director for NHS England welcomed "a major breakthrough in NHS transparency", adding: "Surgeons deserve real credit for taking this voluntary leap. The public interest is clear but there were valid and proper concerns about the dangers of misinterpretation and a great deal of work has been done to address them."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We need to see a revolution in transparency in the NHS - publishing this data will not only drive better care for patients, it could literally save lives. Publishing success rates in heart surgery has already led to one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe. These organisations have shown a real commitment to transparency in publishing this information."


From Belfast Telegraph