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London trust to pilot surgical bonus scheme


21 July, 2008  

Britain’s largest hospital trust is preparing to launch a pilot scheme of bonus payments for surgical outcomes.

London’s Imperial College Healthcare Trust will be testing a Department of Health initiative to offer incentives based on criteria from patient mortality and rates of infection, to readmission and post-operative mobility.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We are looking at a pilot scheme for a particular operation which will measure the improved functionality of the patient, and we are looking at linking certain performance-related bonuses to that.”

The Trust has not specified which operation is to feature in the trial, but says that the format of the scheme is presently being discussed with the surgical team.

The scheme is based on one already in use outside the UK, and was chosen because of “very clearly defined” indicators which make it appropriate to gauge the impact of the pilot.

“It’s about rewarding excellence,” the spokesperson said.

The British Medical Association, however, has said that such bonus payment schemes may deter doctors from carrying out complex procedure or operating on elderly or particularly frail patients.

Katherine Murphy, from the Patients Association, said: “Patients will be horrified.”

Imperial College Healthcare Trust

Your comments (Terms and conditions apply):

“Surgeons and all healthcare professionals should keep the mortality and infection rate low as part of their duty, not for incentives.” – Manish Srivastava, Preston, UK