Healthcare Commission publishes annual NHS healthcheck

A report from the Healthcare Commission has shown that many trusts must improve. Sir Ian Kennedy, chair of the Healthcare Commission said that the NHS needs to ‘raise its game' by improving quality of services and the use of resources.

Hospital waiting room
Hospital waiting room
However, he did praise areas of good NHS performance, saying patients generally report a positive experience of their healthcare. The Healthcare Commission has highlighted that waiting times are falling and many trusts have performed well against a tougher annual assessment.

Ratings and results

The Healthcare Commission rated 570 trusts in England on a four point scale, from excellent to weak. The results showed that:

  • 36 per cent of trusts scored good for quality of services and 4 per cent were excellent.
  • 12 per cent of trusts scored good for use of resources and 3 per cent were excellent.

However, most of the trusts were fair, meaning they need to improve in certain areas.

  • 47 per cent scored fair for use of resources.
  • 51 per cent scored fair for quality of services.

Those trusts that scored weak on the four point scale revealed that:

  • 9 per cent were weak when quality of service was assessed.
  • 37 per cent were weak for use of resources.

Sir Ian Kennedy said: ‘This is a tougher test for the NHS and we make no apologies for that. While there is improvement, there are also concerns.’ Sir Ian wants immediate action at the 24 trusts found to be weak.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants’ committee said: ‘The BMA has long called for changes to the way the performance of NHS trusts is assessed and the new ratings, based on broad core standards, are a welcome improvement.’ Dr Fielding noted that changes to Government accounting and restructuring of PCTs has resulted in weak rating for some trusts.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt commended the NHS for the hard work is has put in to improving performance. She said: ‘The best of the NHS is amongst the best in the world and should be proud of its achievements. But I want to see the best everywhere.’

The Healthcare Commission report and reports on individual trusts can be read online.

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