Published: 07/06/2002, Volume II2, No. 5808 Page 4 5

Scotland's chief medical officer has promised the health service will not be judged by 'crude death league tables' - but by wider quality issues.

And Dr Mac Armstrong hinted that the way treatment for hip fractures is currently audited could be a potential model for how quality is assessed across the service.

Dr Armstrong said the new Quality Standards Board for Scotland - which is currently the subject of a consultation - would build a 'new understanding' of what clinical outcomes meant.

'Not just the crude death league tables of the past. Quality of life, the smooth pathway of the patient through hospital care and the speed with which a patient can return to hearth and home will all be just as important, ' he said.

Speaking on the eve of the fifth HipFest, a national conference for people working in the area of hip fracture, he said it was a 'key area' where professionals were already working synergistically.

The Scottish hip fracture audit - also set up in 1997 - describes case mix, the care process, outcomes and the whole journey of care.

There are also clinical guidelines, and national standards currently being drawn up. QSBS will take over the functions of bodies including the Clinical Standards Board for Scotland and the Health Technology Board for Scotland.