Lack of Progress on the Government’s Surgical Survival Data Policy
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RCSEd has issued the following statement in response to a report in The Telegraph (03 November 2012), revealing that progress has been hindered in a key government policy on Surgical Survival Data, which would have allowed patients to have access to surgical survival data to allow them to choose where to be treated and to drive improvements.
Accurate data collection concerning surgical outcomes is essential for many reasons: not least is the need to identify and analyse those data and understand variation in the same treatment provided across different parts of the United Kingdom.
Such information is important for national clinical audits, specifying the outcomes of care by surgical teams, revalidation of individual surgeons, and confirmation of good practice according to the standards espoused by colleges and specialty associations. It is crucial, therefore, that mechanisms are put in place to measure and collect this data and that our health care system is able to understand the implications of and importance in identifying and presenting outcome data, including survival, for analysis by all those with an interest in the area-not least of which by patients themselves.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, along with specialty associations through the Surgical Forum, is actively pursuing development of such outcome data and has been looking at international models such as those used in Washington and Hong Kong which provide crucial feedback information for the surgical societies and colleges in these jurisdictions.
The UK is in urgent need of a similar process whereby contemporary information can be provided to surgeons and teams.
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