Surgeons publish their performance data; how the US improved its care home sector and the rest of today’s news

Live logo





4:27pm: Narinder Kuper writes that as a caring organisation, the NHS must give the wellbeing and needs of its workforce the same importance as it does that of its patients. He says: “If staff are demoralised or feel victimised, this will inevitably make it less likely that better clinical outcomes for patients will be achieved.”

3:25pm: Science fiction is set to become reality as digital patients will allow doctors accurately predict future diseases and let patients “gaze into their future”.

Read the full story by Shreshtha Trivedi here.

2:58pm: HSJ’s ongoing online conversation on how the NHS can deliver 24/7 working is drawing hundreds of responses from readers around the world.

If you are a registered user of HSJ, you should have received an email invitation with details of how to take part in the debate. If you would like to take part but have not yet received an invitation, please email

2:24pm: Today is the FINAL DAY to enter this year’s HSJ Awards.

The HSJ Awards are the largest celebration of healthcare excellence in the UK. They provide an unequalled opportunity to demonstrate your organisation’s contribution to improved patient care; to recognise staff for their efforts; and to spread the innovations you have introduced.

Details of the awards categories and how to enter for free can be found at

2:09pm: HSJ’s commissioning sector reporter David Williams has an exclusive on the £3.8bn integration fund announced by ministers this week.

A chunk of the cash, which will be held by councils but spent jointly by NHS and local authority commissioners, will be withheld and only released if there are demonstrable improvements for patients related to the initial investment.

Ministers are also planning to set up a “panel of peers” to approve how the cash is used.

12:43pm: With individual trusts publishing the first tranche of suregons’performance data today, Jonathan Gabe, Mark Exworthy and Ian Rees Jones consider how effective making this information public will be in improving outcomes.

12:01pm: The Department of Health has published draft regulations setting out proposed minimum entitlements for social care this morning.  

The DH had previously announced that it would introduce criteria to be applied everywhere in its response to the Dilnot review of social care. However today’s announcement marks a significant step towards establishing a consistent set of standards.

You can see the draft regulations on the DH website via this link.

National social care eligibility is intended to be introduced in 2015.

If implemented, it will set a minimum threshold, establishing out the individual needs and circumstances for which every council in England must offer care and support for adults. 

It is intended to end so called “postcode lotteries” of social care eligibility, where what services are on offer differs from one council area to the next.

The proposed national threshold, is set at a level equivalent to “substantial” in current guidance. The DH says this is the threshold currently used by the “vast majority” of local authorities.

The regulations also set out a planned universal level for carers, which has never existed before.

Care services minister Norman Lamb said: “We know people are often confused about what care they can expect from their local authority and far too many end up having to fight for the care that they need because the rules are so complicated.

“In my view, we need to be clear about the basic minimum entitlements to services so that everyone can be reassured there is some level of support they can expect, regardless of where they live.

“A national minimum is exactly that – a starting point for local councils to base their care provision on. 

“We are also starting work on a new approach to eligibility - which aims to offer some help to families earlier on to help prevent a deterioration of condition – this summer.

“Bringing in these changes will be one of the foundation stones for the most far reaching reform of social care in over 60 years.”

11:28am: The Daily Mail has obtained a leak of surgery outcome data published today and has revealed the data for vascular surgery operations covers procedures between 2008 and 2012.

It “shows a huge variation between the death rates” the paper says for the 450 surgeons.

It highlights a number of surgeons who had death rates ten times the national average.

The surgeons who performed the least number of operations tended to have the highest deaths.

10:51am: The BBC reveals that Leeds child heart unit death rates are the “worst in England”.

It spoke to professor Sir Brian Jarman of the Dr Foster research group, who said mortality rates for planned operations at Leeds were the worst in England.

He has analysed data from the country’s 10 children’s heart units.

Yvette Oade, the chief medical officer at Leeds, said she refuted his claims and “parents shouldn’t be concerned”.

She said the “only validated data” was that provided by the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research which produces official mortality statistics for children’s heart units.

10:45am: HSJ’s James Illman reports that individual trusts’ websites will have to provide links to their consultants’ performance data – including mortality rates – by the end of July.

The first tranche of consultant performance data is being made available via the NHS Choices website today, after legal clearance for the project was secured just hours before the proposed go-live time. Read the full story here.

10:24am: The Times and the Daily Telegraph also carry a story naming Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals Trust and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership of employing temporary staff as permanent to avoid paying VAT, an investigation by ITV News found.

Up to 30 trusts had done this and saved £1bn.

10:10am: The Daily Telegraph has named a surgeon at Portsmouth Hospitals Trust as having “the highest mortality rate” on its front page.

It said: “His death rate was 31.3 per cent based on 16 operations.”

Based on vascular surgery data released by NHS England today it said: “the average mortality rate for patients following surgery was 2.2 per cent – but some surgeons had rates up to 14 times higher.”

The data was taken from 458 vascular surgeons who carried out 21,000 patients in the five years up to December 2012. Six surgeons refused to have their data released.

The paper quotes Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, saying the publication was “an historic moment for surgery”.

The paper names another four surgeons at Sherwood Forest Hospital Foundation Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust

Sherwood said it no longer did the work and it reflected the complexity of the work it carried out. Portsmouth told the paper it had a zero mortality rate for aneurysm surgery  over the past year. Sheffield said “The report made clear that all its surgeons’ mortality rates fell within the expected range when risk factors were taken into account”.

The paper said “The Sunderland trust said surgeons had widely different patient numbers and populations to deal with, some more healthy than others.”

10:02am: The Times reports that all hospital doctors will be expected to make their results public in a patient-information revolution being planned by the NHS bosses. This comes in as surgeons begin publishing performance data, including death rates today.

According to the story, professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, has said that all doctors must accept the principle of publishing data on what happends to their patients.

Patients’ groups have praised the plan but also said that the data must be presented clearly.

8:15am: Those who work in the UK care home sector will be well aware of the structural challenges the industry is currently facing, and that it needs some innovative solutions which come at a lower overall cost to the public.

Today on HSJ’s innovation and efficiency channel, Tim Bolot and Scott Phillips compare the situation to that faced by the US market in the late 1990s and write about how the developments in the United States could steer us in the right direction to avoid reaching crisis point.