About the National Consultant Information Programme
The National Consultant Information Programme (NCIP) aims to support NHS consultants with learning and continuous self-development with respect to their specialty.
The programme has created a secure online portal to provide consultant surgeons with their individual-level activity and metrics across their practice. The portal enables NHS consultants to review information about their clinical activity and their patient outcomes against local and national benchmarks. The tool supports clinical quality and patient safety and can be used effectively for improvement activities, and appraisal.
Responsible Officers play a crucial role in improving and maintaining the quality and safety of patient care, ensuring their organisation has processes in place that provide a framework within which doctors are encouraged to maintain and improve their practice. To support Responsible Officers in carrying out their statutory role, NCIP has provided an information sheet, downloadable as a pdf (see link below), giving an overview and presenting the benefits of NCIP in supporting consultant learning, development and quality improvement.
Access to the NCIP portal
A founding principle of NCIP has been that it should be a resource for the profession, led by the profession. The portal is being delivered with the support of GIRFT clinical leads. The ambition is to provide a unique service – a single point of access to different types and sources of data that consultants will use to support quality improvement and their personal development and learning.
Individual consultant-level data will not be available for external publication. The data can only be accessed by individuals registered via their trust to use the portal, and seen only by the consultant it relates to and their senior responsible officer, and medical director. Users will receive personal login details to access data.
The intention is to:
- Support scrutiny of patient outcomes at individual consultant level.
- Enable consultants to identify potential improvements to their clinical practice.
- Promote learning to improve patient safety and outcomes.
Data sources and content
The NCIP portal is a digital tool that NHS consultants in England – surgeons in the first instance – can use to review their personal patient outcomes data alongside comparable national and unit level data. It is hosted on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Model Hospital Platform.
It provides a secure single point of access to existing information from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), routinely collected by NHS trusts and pseudonymised at individual level. The HES data is updated every three months. The NCIP content development team is also working on incorporation of trust theatre data and outpatient data as well as clinical audit and registries’ data to enhance the data tool.
Led by clinicians
GIRFT’s specialty clinical leads have provided support to the programme, working in collaboration with their specialty associations and Royal Colleges to develop the portal content in terms of procedures and metrics, as well as navigation and usability.
The metrics have been carefully chosen to reflect key practices in each specialty, and give consultants the best possible picture of their own practice.
Currently the portal holds consultant outcomes data and unit-level data across 12 surgical specialties:
- General surgery – upper GI and lower GI
- Oral and Maxilliofacial surgery
- Paediatric surgery
- Plastic surgery and burns
Content is presented on the portal via a series of procedure-specific dashboards. Metrics include volume, length of stay or day case rate, and the readmission rate. Other metrics such as re-operation rates, revision rates, complication rates and mortality rates are included for procedures where they are deemed appropriate. It is intended that, in time, the portal will be extended across all surgical specialties and medical specialties.
For more information on how to use the portal, you can access our series of how-to videos, and frequently asked questions, by clicking here.
The number and type of metrics displayed within NCIP will grow and change over time as more data are made available and where clinicians suggest which metrics are the most useful.
The table below illustrates a sample of some of the procedures included for three of the specialties:
|Paediatric surgery||General surgery||Urology|
|Umbilical hernia repair||Colorectal resections for cancer||PCNL|
|Circumcision||Oesophago-gastric resections for cancer||Nephrectomy|
|Inguinal hernia repair||Laparoscopic cholecystectomy||Cystectomy|
|Hypospadias repair||Incisional hernia repair||Radical prostatectomy|
|Pyeloplasty||Inguinal hernia repair||Scrotal exploration|
|Congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair||Bariatric surgery||Hydrocele repair|
|Male bladder outflow obstruction surgery|
The Academy and the Medical Royal Colleges fully support hospital consultants having access to meaningful information and outcomes data on which to compare themselves with national benchmarks to support their learning and development which will, in turn, improve patient care. We believe that understanding their data will assist clinicians in their natural drive to improve standards and the quality of care. Colleges have been involved in the development of NCIP from an early stage and support its continuing development.
Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
It is every surgeons responsibility to know, to really know, their results and outcomes. We need accurate data to see how we compare with our colleagues and national standards. In this way we can continuously refine surgery for our patients. The National Consultant Information Programme is a brilliant desktop aid providing up to date and accurate information, which will help us to be an example when we do well, and recognise where we need to improve. The art and practice of surgery is all about life-long learning and that is not possible without good quality outcome data.
Professor Neil Mortensen, CPresident of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
It is important that as a profession we robustly analyse and evaluate our surgery so that we can understand how best to improve the care we provide to patients. The National Consultant Information Programme will offer another powerful tool to help surgeons scrutinise their performance.
Professor Derek Alderson, Immediate Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England