London: Surgeons in the UK will have to make public their patient mortality rates or else they will face sanctions, a move opposed by some doctors who warned that it could lead to consultants refusing to take on difficult cases.
Performance data for about 5,000 surgeons in England is expected to be released online on Wednesday.
The surgeons who refuse to publish their patient mortality rates could face sanctions, said NHS (National Health Service) England's medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh.
He said publishing rates improved safety and the NHS (National Health Service) was looking at "penalties to force that".
Some surgeons, however, warned that the move could lead to consultants refusing to take on difficult cases.
They argue that the statistics do not take full account of the circumstances of each operation.
Speaking to 'The Sunday Times',?Sir Bruce acknowledged the publishing of mortality rates was not popular with everyone, but said the issue was "not going to go away".
He said: "We are looking now at a series of inducements, penalties to force that. On the personal level is the revalidation, there are also clinical excellence awards.
"If you want to progress with your clinical excellence award, if you have refused to allow your data to be published, then that will affect your progression."
Revalidation is?a process by which all licensed doctors have to demonstrate to the UK's General Medical Council that they are up to date and fit to practice.
It is a legal requirement and is designed to ensure quality care for patients.