Care in England will face systematic scrutiny from April 2013 through national ‘frameworks’ to track population and patient outcomes. There will be three principal outcomes frameworks – one each for the NHS, public health and social care.
The NHS Outcomes Framework will be supported by the Commissioning Outcomes Framework, which will assess quality of care provision by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and the QOF, which assesses care in general practice. Addressing health inequalities will be a key priority across all five frameworks.
Ministers say this will make the NHS and local authorities more accountable and act as a ‘catalyst’ for quality improvement and culture change.
The indicators will resemble those found in the QOF, but they will be far wider reaching, covering everything from cancer survival to child poverty.
But controversy remains over the plans. The GPC has warned that plans to pay practices for how well they cut commissioning costs may destroy patients’ trust in GPs. The DH recently admitted that nationally set goals may distort local priorities. So how will the changes and each of the frameworks affect GPs and commissioners?