Doctors urge caution in interpretation of league tables

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 24 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1205
  1. Alex Vass
  1. BMJ

    Doctors' organisations have urged caution in interpreting the tables published every day this week by the Times newspaper, comparing the performance of hospitals in treating patients with certain life threatening conditions.

    Both the BMA and the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons expressed support for the principle of publishing accurate information but urged caution in its interpretation.

    The Hospital Consultants Guide provided an analysis of the hospital death rates for patients who had had heart bypass surgery or who had been treated for stroke or broken hips. It also listed hospital consultants who worked in five key specialties—heart surgery, heart disease, neurology, orthopaedics, and general surgery—giving their qualifications, waiting times, and private work addresses.

    The data were compiled by Dr Foster, an independent healthcare information company that works with Brian Jarman, emeritus professor of primary health care, at Imperial College, …

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