Friday, 6 April 2012

On the uselessness of NHS statistics...

The nannying fussbuckets of this world throw NHS stastistics around like confetti in justification for their bans, restrictions and campaigns. It appears that the key data - hospital coding - is pretty rubbish. Here's Nigel Hawkes from Straight Statistics:

But a letter in this week’s BMJ indicates that any confidence in the accuracy of codes may be misplaced. A team from Imperial College found that in 2009-10, nearly 20,000 adults were coded as having attended paediatric outpatient services, and 3,000 patients under 19 were apparently treated in geriatric clinics.

Pretty strange but no as odd as this:

Even more striking, between 15,000 and 20,000 men have been admitted to obstetric wards each year since 2003, and almost 10,000 to gynaecology wards. Nearly 20,000 midwife “episodes” – NHS jargon for completed treatments – were with men.

So next time you hear so doctor or representative of a New Puritan fake charity going on about hospital admissions - add salt!


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