Treating a specified number of patients is no guarantee of quality

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7055.494b (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:494
  1. Adrian Ball, Consultant surgeon
  1. Breast Service, Department of Surgery, Crawley Horsham NHS Trust, Crawley Hospital, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 7DH

    EDITOR,—The NHS Executive has recently written to trust executives about the development of cancer units in district general hospitals.1 It refers to the number of patients with common cancers whom surgeons need to treat to ensure adequate skill and suggests that figures regarded as adequate now will be revised upwards in the future.

    At present no firm recommendations exist about the critical number of patients who are required to ensure adequate clinical skill, though 50-80 per specialist has been suggested by the …

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