Review rates of pathology findings for head and neck cancer vary hugely between hospitals, report finds

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 17 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5654
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

New data on the outcomes of surgery for head and neck cancer show variations between hospitals in the frequency with which pathology findings after surgery are discussed with other members of the multidisciplinary team.

This form of team review is considered an “important standard of care,” a report published on the NHS Choices website says,1 adding, “all cases undergoing major resective surgery should be discussed.”

But the data, which cover 3200 major operations broken down by hospital and by individual surgeon, show that this advice is not universally followed.

Review rates vary from zero to 100%, the figures show. Of 217 operations at Aintree University Hospital on patients whose cancer was recorded between 1 November 2011 and 31 October 2012, for example, …

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