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Ultimately, good data are the best protection for patients and doctors
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has been urging the Department of Health to fund a prospective national cataract audit for some time. The ongoing House of Commons Heath Committee inquiry into independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) highlighted the need for good quality information.1 Large sums of government money have been spent on independent sector procurement and questions are being asked as to whether they represent good value for money and, perhaps more importantly, whether it threatens the funding of local hospitals.
COMPARE LIKE WITH LIKE
The heath committee wanted to know about the complication rates of surgery carried out in ISTCs and how they compared with those performed under the NHS. There is an amazing lack of information. Ophthalmology at least came out reasonably well as there are good data in some NHS units. Some 25 NHS trust hospitals now have facilities for prospective ongoing audits. The amalgamated data are sizable and provide the benchmark.2 To compare like with like, however, any …