Raw data on around 250 indicators has been collated in a standardised form on the Information Centre website. The GPC said that patients would need more contextual information for such data to be meaningful.
The release of the data coincided with an announcement by health secretary Andrew Lansley of details of the NHS Outcomes Framework for 2012/13. The Outcomes Framework sets out 60 indicators against which the performance of NHS organisations in England can be judged, such as mortality rates and patient experience.
The Information Centre data include details on patient experience and practice prescribing, as well as data on A&E and elective admissions, for GP practices in England. The standardised formatting of the information is designed to make it easier for data to be incorporated into apps and websites developed by independent organisations.
But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said that patients would need contextual information for the data to be useful and meaningful.
‘If you release large amounts of information, it is highly unintelligible,’ he said. ‘It is not something that the public have been calling for or would use.’
‘We need to learn the lessons from school league tables and see the added value practices bring,’ he added.
Practice-level data may only be meaningful when understood within the historical context of a practice, he said. Failing to appreciate such subtleties could lead to patients or the lay media drawing inappropriate conclusions about practice performance, he said.
Dr Vautrey added that, although such data were already publicly available, pulling it together could cause difficulties for the government. ‘From a patients’ point of view, patients like high-referring practices that prescribe costly drugs – really the opposite view of the government,’ he said.
|NHS Information Centre indicators|