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Study Finds Disparity in Cardiac Surgery Outcomes for Private and NHS Payers in England

Share this: writes of a new study that has revealed paying patients are 20 per cent less likely to die or develop major complications, such as reintervention or stroke, after cardiac surgery than NHS patients. Researchers say these findings cannot be explained by socioeconomic factors alone.

The study, led by academics at the University of Bristol, and published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, looked at the data of over 280,000 patients who underwent adult cardiac surgery over a ten-year period from 2009 to 2018 at 31 NHS cardiac units in England. 5,967 of these were private payers and 274,242 were government funded. Private payers are treated by the same clinical teams.

Findings from the study posed important questions about why there is a significant disparity in health outcomes between government funded patients and those accessing NHS healthcare through a private payer-scheme, even after socio-economic factors had been considered.

Researchers used data from the National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit (NACSA) registry. They looked at several outcomes: the primary being in-hospital mortality, but also incidence of in-hospital postoperative cerebrovascular accident (CVA), renal dialysis, sternal wound infection, and re-exploration. To eliminate socioeconomic status as the sole or primary cause of difference in clinical outcomes between private and NHS payers, the researchers used information on socioeconomic status by linkage with the Iteration of the English Indices of Deprivation (IoD).

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