Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has today formally launched MyNHS, a publicly accessible online database listing NHS performance of local hospitals, care services and local authorities. The data has been added for the last two months and today the site entered public beta.
The website is part of government response to the Mid-Staffordshire enquiry and an effort to enhance public transparency of the NHS, this database is the first time much of the information has been made publicly available.
The criteria for searches on the database include food quality, staffing, patient safety including success of surgeons and mental health care.
This represents the primary rollout of the service with future additions to the database and search criteria are already planned. An upgrade scheduled for December, is set to allow patients to view the Care Quality Commission’s individual risk rating for GP practices. Later, the figures for 1-year and 5-year cancer survival rates for NHS trusts will also be added.
The scheme has already attracted controversy from some surgeon groups, who are unhappy with the publication of official success and mortality rates of individual surgeons. The move has been criticised for generalising the practise of individuals and could be misleading.
Prof John MacFie, president of the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations, said, “the publication of individual surgeons’ performance data is crude and can be misleading, and does not include essential information such as duration of hospital stay and returns to theatre.”
He added that the data involving mortality rates of surgery should not be immediately available online, instead it should be collected and only released if concerns arise about a particular individual’s practise.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended the service in a statement, stressing the importance of transparency, saying “transparency is about patient outcomes not process targets. It uses the power of a learning culture and of peer review, not blame”.
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