Changing practice

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 29 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:248
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    A system of self regulation of surgery and anaesthesia in the United Kingdom has worked so well that the Department of Health is expanding its remit. Dr Peter Simpson, the man in charge, tells Susan Mayor the reasons why

    “If you want a system that requires clinicians to change their practice, it works best if it is clinically led,” believes Dr Peter Simpson, chairman of the newly expanded and renamed National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Deaths (NCEPOD). “This is the underlying reason why the inquiry has achieved major changes in surgical and anaesthesia practice over the past few years.” The organisation, originally the National Confidential Enquiry into Perioperative Deaths, recently changed its name to reflect a wider remit but kept the same initials (NCEPOD) to ensure continuity in the public mind.

    The inquiry was originally set up by surgeons and anaesthetists in 1982 to review surgical and anaesthetic practice in three regions of the United Kingdom. In 1988, it moved to a national level, supported by government funding. Its studies have ranged from measuring the percentage of patients dying within 30 days of surgery, to looking at deaths within a specific age range or from specific procedures. One of its studies that had particular impact was an investigation into patterns of operating within …

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