Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say

Date:
October 9, 2011
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Research which claims to show that the introduction of patient choice in the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) reduced deaths from heart attacks is flawed and misleading, according to a new report.

Research which claims to show that the introduction of patient choice in the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) reduced deaths from heart attacks is flawed and misleading, according to a report published in The Lancet.

Related Articles


The original study was used by the Government to advance its controversial Health and Social Care Bill 2011 and was the basis for the Prime Minister's statement that 'competition is one way we can make things work better for patients'.

In the report, academics -- led by Professor Allyson Pollock of Queen Mary, University of London -- point out a series of errors in the study and conclude that it is 'fundamentally flawed'.

The research David Cameron referred to was a paper by Zack Cooper and colleagues which was published by LSE Health. It examined the mortality rates for heart attack patients measured against the number of hospitals within travelling distance of the patient's GP surgery. It also looked at data on elective surgery for hernia, cataract repair, knee arthroscopy, hip replacement and knee replacement, and claims to show that introducing greater choice in elective surgery led to lower death rates from heart attacks.

Professor Pollock and her colleagues -- including Professor Alison Macfarlane at City University London -- say that, crucially, the study offers no explanation as to why the availability of choice for such elective procedures should have any effect on whether heart attack patients survive.

The Lancet report also points out the following:

  • the researchers do not look at whether the availability of choice has any effect on where patients go for treatment,
  • they do not look at whether or how GPs' patterns of referrals changed when choice became available,
  • recent research indicates the majority of patients who have been offered a choice pick their nearest hospital,
  • heart attack is a medical emergency and patients generally have no choice about where they are treated,
  • outcomes for heart attack patients tend to be better when they are treated in specialist centres in urban areas,
  • the authors ignore the possible effects of major changes in primary care prevention and secondary care intervention for heart attacks,
  • and that there is no evidence that the data on elective operations is in any way a good measure of choice or competition.

Professor Pollock said: "The Government's Health Bill has faced enormous opposition from the public and from health professionals. In trying to win over his critics the Prime Minister has used the study by Zack Cooper to justify competition within the National Health Service.

"Our examination of this research reveals it to be fundamentally flawed, amounting to the conclusion that the paper simply doesn't prove either cause or effect between patient choice and death rates.

"This work should not be quoted as scientific evidence to support choice, competition or the new Health and Social Care Bill."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Allyson Pollock, Alison Macfarlane, Graham Kirkwood, F. Azeem Majeed, Ian Greener, Carlo Morelli, Seán Boyle, Howard Mellett, Sylvia Godden, David Price, Petra Brhlikova. Statistical association is not causation: Claims that patient choice and market competition in the NHS reduce AMI mortality are misleading and false. Lancet, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61553-5

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111009192525.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2011, October 9). UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111009192525.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "UK government claims that patient choice improves health care is based on flawed research, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111009192525.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) — A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins