The NHS Information Centre for health and social care's national clinical audit support programme has begun a new audit for the Healthcare Commission to look at the quality of mastectomy and breast reconstruction care.

The NHS Information Centre for health and social care's national clinical audit support programme has begun a new audit for the Healthcare Commission to look at the quality of mastectomy and breast reconstruction care.

More than 16,000 mastectomies are carried out every year following breast cancer, with around 4,000 cases being followed by reconstructive surgery. Working in partnership with the clinical effectiveness unit at the Royal College of Surgeons, the audit aims to assess both clinical care and patient-related outcomes, answering the following questions:

  • Is the provision of breast reconstruction services uniform across England and Wales?
  • Do women undergoing mastectomy have enough information to make an informed decision about breast reconstruction and are they happy with that decision?
  • What are the outcomes following mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction?

Clinical input is being provided by the Association of Breast Surgery at the British Association of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Plastic Surgery.

A first annual report will be published in January 2008 and will include results of an organisational audit, analysis of existing data (including HES) and a qualitative study. Clinical data collection for the audit and the patient-related outcomes data collection will also commence in January 2008.

For more information see www.icservices.nhs.uk/ncasp