When doctors and other healthcare professionals receive payments or gifts, it creates a conflict of interest that could impact the choices they make around procurement, research, and ultimately the care they give to patients. A conflict does not mean that someone is doing something wrong: but it is vital that these payments are disclosed appropriately and transparently. NHS England advises that all NHS trusts should maintain a Gifts and Hospitality Register in which all staff can declare potential conflicts of interest. We decided to see which trusts were keeping these registers and what they looked like. Through Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests, we asked every NHS trust in England to provide their Gifts and Hospitality Register as well as information on any disciplinary action taken due to conflicts of interest. We then assessed each response and shared the results, both in a paper and on this website.
We think NHS Trusts should collect simple complete data on conflicts of interest, and disclose this routinely online, as we say in our paper. We also think the NHS, the GMC, and other professional regulators should mandate disclosure. Transparency is the best way to build trust in healthcare.
This study was conducted by Dr. Harriet Feldman with input and assistance from Nicholas DeVito, Dr. Jonathan Mendel and Dr. David Carroll. The website was created by Seb Bacon. Dr. Ben Goldacre was the project PI. The Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford is a collaboration of academics, clinicians and software engineers working together to make tools as well as academic papers.
We’re always keen to hear feedback, user stories, insights you’ve made, errors, omissions, and feature requests. If you have anything to say about this project, please email us at [email protected]! If you are an NHS trust featured on this website, and you wish to update your score, please send your new current register to [email protected], with a link to where it can be found online.