A surgeon prepares to extract donated organs in Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (AFP/Getty)
Performance data for almost 5,000 surgeons in England will be released Getty

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) will release performance data for almost 5,000 surgeons in England which will include information on how many people lived and died under the care of each one.

Although surgeons have slammed the data release as "crude and misleading," the NHS said it will increase transparency for patients.

Patients will be able to access the information via the MyNHS website, which allows people to compare the performance of different NHS services, including consultants.

"Transparency is about patient outcomes, not process targets. It uses the power of a learning culture and of peer review, not blame," said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

However, surgeons have said that the data would be misleading to patients. as it is rare for a patient to die on the operating table through the fault of the doctor. The person usually has a host of complications preceding the event.

Furthermore, they add that it could lead to surgeons refusing difficult and vital cases because they don't want to run the risk of reputational damage, due to the "crude" measurement.

"The publication of individual surgeons' performance data is crude and can be misleading, and does not include essential information such as duration of hospital stay and returns to theatre," said Professor John MacFie, president of the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations.

"Patients can be active participants in their care and use consultant outcomes information to help have an informed conversation with their surgeon.

"In reality very few deaths can be attributed to surgical error alone, and this data only attracts attention away from institutional failings."