Individual GP performance data should be published, says top surgeon

Data showing individual GPs' impact on patient outcomes should be published and could feed into revalidation, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has said.

Dr Vautrey: ‘There is already enough data published on GP performance, more than any other profession.'
Dr Vautrey: ‘There is already enough data published on GP performance, more than any other profession.'

Speaking at think tank Reform’s High Quality Healthcare conference on Wednesday, Professor Norman Williams said publishing outcomes data for all doctors would drive up standards.

‘I would challenge them to publish their outcomes,’ he said. He stressed that this was not an official RCS view, and admitted it would be ‘more difficult for GPs’ than surgeons.

The DH published practice-level data on 250 indicators and on prescribing in December 2011, a move the GPC said could lead to league tables being published.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GP: ‘There is already enough data published on GP performance, more than any other profession.

‘Making data on individual GPs meaningful is virtually impossible.’

Health secretary Andrew Lansley spoke at the Reform event about the need to ‘drive out adverse variation’ in the NHS, adding: ‘We need to focus on what quality looks like.’

He said an announcement on the NHS Information Strategy was due to be made next week.

Also speaking at the conference, NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar called for guarantees that using patient choice to tackle variation would deliver high standards.

He said: ‘Choice has become very politicised. There is a fundamental mismatch of expectations with what people get. The public don’t expect variation.’

Head of corporate affairs at healthcare IT company Cerner Simon Hill suggested the NHS Commissioning Board could be well placed to enforce ‘quality standards’ relating to data available to help patient choice.

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