§ Mr. Hutton
The latest information on the variation in the cost of operations in NHS hospitals is provided in 'Reference Costs 2001'. (Copies of this are held in the 463W Library. It also available at www.doh.gov.uk/nhsexec/refcosts.htm.) There is no information on the cost of operations by health authorities.
An analysis of the published information on reference costs shows there is still a significant variation in the cost of some operations. Publishing comparative information of this sort is part of a wider strategy to improve performance in the NHS, which also includes:Investment—including 7,500 more consultants and 20,000 more nurses by 2004;National standards—such as those set out in the National Service Frameworks;Stronger regulation and inspection—where the Commission for Health Improvement will play a key role; andSpreading best practice—for example, by the Modernisation Agency.
§ Mr. Hutton
The reference costs provide the best source of information on the variation in the cost of hip replacement operations. (Copies of this are held in the Library and it also available at www.doh.gov.uk/nhsexec/refcosts.htm.) The information for 2000–01 includes the following for elective primary hip replacements:
£ Average cost for England 4,179 Inter-quartile range 3,650 to 4,702 Lowest recorded cost 566 Highest recorded cost 12,907
The extent of care delivered within this definition can vary, because of local factors such as service delivery and data recording. The best indicator of cost variation is the inter-quartile range as this contains a significantly high percentage of total activity.