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Dr Rant on Health Statistics

"The BBC is reporting that 43% of Hospital Trusts were caught by 'lie detector software'.
"What does this tell us?
"It tells us that the lie detection software gives a false negative 57% of the time."


Dr Rant is a perhaps slightly less vitriolic version of AngryNHSDoc, who was forced by management to take his blog down. AngryNHSDoc made a number of useful points that it is worth people being aware of:

  1. Statistics are fiddled (see also Dr Rant).
  2. People abuse the NHS.
  3. Doctors don't think NHS Direct is of much benefit.

The way in which things are reported, however, means that much of what the Healthcare Commission said recently was meaningless to patients. For example a PCT that set a target of 12% of smoking pregnant mothers and hit 16% failed. A PCT that set a target of 16% and hit it passed.

It creates a culture whereby people should only set targets that they know they can hit.

We also have the QoF which is where points mean pounds to GP Practises. The idea of a single handed GP now getting £450,000 is quite amazing. However, if you tick lots of boxes you get paid a lot of money.

There are a lot of complex medical ethics issues as well. To what extent should doctors report which patients have any mental health problems. Quite a few people have depression from time to time (see Alistair Campbell). Should the GPs report that to the government?

I do need to find out how much over all QoF is costing and which of the results of this are worth having.

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