Letters Hospital mortality ratios

Good national data needed

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c2777 (Published 25 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2777
  1. Chris Sherlaw-Johnson, surveillance manager1,
  2. Nick Bishop, senior medical adviser1,
  3. Heather Wood, investigations manager1
  1. 1Care Quality Commission, London EC1Y 8TG
  1. chris.sherlaw-johnson{at}cqc.org.uk

    The Care Quality Commission takes an interest in the debate on the use of hospital mortality ratios to judge hospital performance.1 2 However, neither the Care Quality Commission nor its predecessor, the Healthcare Commission, has ever launched a formal investigation of an organisation solely on the basis of overall mortality statistics, nor is it likely to happen in the future.

    We welcome good national audit data. Currently they are not widely available, do not cover all areas of care, and are not always timely. Data would always be subject to the general problems of completeness, accuracy, and interpretation. Administrative data are by no means perfect, but their continued use has helped to improve quality measurably. Ironically, since everyone understands the nuances and pitfalls we are well placed to undertake a meaningful dialogue with organisations.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2777


    • Competing interests: None declared.


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