NHS to be judged on better results for patients

7 Dec 11
Patients’ experience of the health service plays a major role in the revised performance measures for the NHS, announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today.

By Nick Mann | 7 December 2011

Patients’ experience of the health service plays a major role in the revised performance measures for the NHS, announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today.

Among the changes in the NHS Outcomes Framework 2012/13 are measures to cut deaths from cancer and improve children’s experience of care. There are also service-specific indicators covering peoples’ experience of GP and NHS dental services.

Lansley said the new framework was aimed at ‘making it clear that the NHS is about one ambition and one ambition alone – improving results for patients’.

He added: ‘That is the change that the NHS Outcomes Framework that we’re publishing today, will bring about. It sets the direction for the whole NHS – orienting the NHS back towards the people who really matter: its patients. And it sets out how we will hold the NHS to account for improving the results that patients get.’

The NHS Outcomes Framework, which is updated every year, details 60 ‘outcome measures’, covering areas such as preventing people from dying prematurely and enhancing the quality of life of those with long-term conditions.

Specific measures also apply to how the NHS helps people to recover from ill health and injury, how it ensures people have a positive experience of care and how far patients are treated and cared for in a ‘safe environment’.

Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, welcomed the new framework’s ‘increased attention’ on reducing early deaths caused by cancer.

He said the framework would ‘help the NHS Commissioning Board, clinical commissioning groups, NHS trusts and all clinicians and managers to focus on our most important challenge – to work together to bring the quality and standard of care for all patients, of all ages, up to that currently being experienced by those treated in the highest performing hospitals’.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, stressed that it was important that the Department of Health spoke to NHS leaders about the practicalities of achieving the outcomes in the framework.

‘Having a discussion with NHS leaders about the practicalities of achieving these outcomes is crucial if the Department of Health is to guarantee they do not add another burden on trusts already grappling with substantial data submissions and trying hard to keep their management costs to a minimum,’ he said

‘The government needs to be aware that it will take time for improvements in care to show up in this new system. This framework will require a certain amount of flexibility in how things are initially measured, and also in the way NHS organisations are recognised and rewarded for the outcomes they achieve.’

Alongside the new framework, Lansley launched a map that he said would make it easier for patients to identify which local services will be available to them through the ‘Any Qualified Provider’ system.

From April 2012, patients will be able to choose from a list of health service providers who meet NHS standards when they receive a referral from their GP. Lansley said the map would help to give patients ‘the tools they need with their doctors to decide the right way forward’.


CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?