Hospital league tables

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7292.992/a (Published 21 April 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:992

There are lies, damn lies, and hospital statistics

  1. Andrew Bamji (Andrew_Bamji@compuserve.com), consultant rheumatologist
  1. Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Kent DA14 6LT
  2. Sandwell Health Authority, West Bromwich B70 9LD

    EDITOR—Kmietowicz's news article on hospital league tables states that the biggest predictor of death rates was the number of doctors in the hospital.1 This conclusion was drawn by Professor Sir Brian Jarman and (in the Sunday Times) underpinned by data from Greenwich District Hospital.

    Unfortunately for the conclusion, the data are wrong. The Department of Health's figures for Greenwich seem to be for consultants only and do not include junior doctors. This introduces an error of an order of magnitude between two and three. All hospitals' figures are likely to be distorted further by the fact that staff in unrecognised posts (often posts with strange titles such as “trust doctors”) are not counted.

    When such a fundamental and …

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