The government stated in Patients First and Foremost that, ‘from 2015, [NHS England] will ensure that data on services at specialty level is increasingly available. To do this they will work with providers, patient groups and specialty level organisations and those bodies such as the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the Care Quality Commission…’
It is important for healthcare professionals to provide information of this kind which will act as a catalyst for improvements in audit quality, participation and analysis that will enable fuller transparency. As the recent publication of outcome data for a number of surgical specialties has shown, we are at the start of an age of much greater openness about the quality of care, and all in the NHS, including health professionals, need to play their part in opening up information for patients and the public. The publication of this data has already stimulated specialist societies to take ownership of the setting and monitoring of clinical standards
Medical Royal Colleges have actively supported the publication of individual consultant outcome data in the relevant specialties. The Consultant Outcomes Publication began with ten national clinical audits in June 2013; the information published is available on the NHS Choices Website and 2014 data will be published on My NHS. So far, over 99 % of consultants have agreed or not objected to information regarding their practice being published and compliance with plans to report consultant-level data became mandatory, through the NHS standard contract, in 2014/15. Consultant data for neurosurgery and upper gastro-intestinal has also now been published. NHS England is looking into which outcomes data could be most usefully and feasibly collected to extend the programme. In addition, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ 2013 publication “i-care: Information, Communication and Technology in the NHS” reiterated the commitment to transparent collection and provision of information and the involvement of clinicians in the provision and use of clinical data.