Editorials

NHS transparency

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4402 (Published 08 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4402
  1. Ben Bridgewater, director1,
  2. Donald Irvine, patron2,
  3. Bruce Keogh, national medical director3
  1. 1Outcomes Publication, Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, London EC3A 5AW, UK
  2. 2Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, UK
  3. 3NHS England, Leeds, UK
  1. Ben.bridgewater{at}uhsm.nhs.uk

Not yet perfect, but a huge step forward

Mortality rates for individual cardiac surgeons were first published in the United Kingdom after a request under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005.1 The event was described at the time as a glimpse into the secret garden of medical self regulation. Current publication of the results of seven specialties opens that door further. Three more will follow by the autumn. It is important for the medical profession to be seen to regulate itself effectively after events in Mid Staffs and elsewhere, and the wider erosion of trust in some great British institutions after scandals over MPs expenses, bank regulation, and governance of the BBC.

Publication of these results is a major event in the history of the NHS and the medical profession.2 3 Patients who need treatments included in these audits can find information about how many procedures each consultant has performed, with an indication of the outcomes. This should surely be welcomed by all. It has been a long time coming. The original call for results to be published came from the Bristol Public Inquiry in 20014; that recommendation was repeated in the Mid Staffs …

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