Reviews Press

Why doctors' outcomes should be published in the press

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 17 November 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1210
  1. Ben Bridgewater (, consultant cardiac surgeon
  1. South Manchester University Hospitals Trust

    I recently gave a talk in a debate at a UK regional meeting of vascular surgeons, proposing the motion that “vascular surgeons' mortality data should be published in the press.” The initial request came through for a “light hearted” presentation for five to 10 minutes at the end of the day.

    Before the meeting I suggested that the publication of named clinician outcome data was one of the biggest things to happen to cardiac surgery over the past 20 years and that it would inevitably happen to vascular surgery. I also said that the subject was not light hearted and would merit more time in the programme. The debate went ahead as initially planned, and an eminent vascular surgeon was invited to the meeting to oppose the motion.

    I based my talk around the fictitious premise that my 78 year old father had recently been diagnosed as having an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and now required urgent surgery. I used the example to demonstrate the paucity of data available to patients and their carers undergoing this type of major surgery.

    There is insufficient data available from hospital websites, professional organisations, or the Healthcare Commission to demonstrate that there is satisfactory clinical …

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