Outcome measures revealed for NHS Commissioning Board

Mortality, quality of life and patient experience data will be among the outcome measures used to hold the NHS Commissioning Board to account, health secretary Andrew Lansley has announced.

Mr Farrar: 'The plans outlined in today's outcomes framework present the NHS with a genuine opportunity to deliver better healthcare for patients'
Mr Farrar: 'The plans outlined in today's outcomes framework present the NHS with a genuine opportunity to deliver better healthcare for patients'

Sixty indicators have been revealed as part of the NHS Operating Framework for 2012/13, including measures of mortality, quality of life and patient experience. The indicators are listed in full in Annex A of the framework.

The announcement comes as practice-level data on 250 outcome indicators has been published by the Information Centre.

The NHS Operating Framework indicators form part of a cascade of accountability through which clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be judged.

The indicators included in NHS Operating Framework will be used to hold the NHS Commissioning Board to account. The NHS Commissioning Board will also ‘draw on’ these 60 indicators from the NHS Operating Framework to develop the Commissioning Outcomes Framework.

The Commissioning Outcomes Framework will hold CCGs to account, ensuring they commission effectively and deliver service improvements for their local populations.

The patient charity coalition National Voices welcomed Mr Lansley’s announcement, but said patients would need support to interpret the information.

Chief executive Jeremy Taylor said: ‘Information can just baffle unless people have the face-to-face support to make sense of it, particularly if they are vulnerable.

‘Shared decision making doesn’t work unless health professionals are properly trained to involve patients in decisions about their care,’ he added. ‘We need to see more detail about how the government will attend to the human side of "no decision about me without me".’

Commenting on today's outcomes framework announcement, NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said the measurements will allow trusts to take a more rounded view on the quality of care provided to patients. He added the framework would 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.

He added: 'The plans outlined in today's outcomes framework present the NHS with a genuine opportunity to deliver better healthcare for patients, something many of the best NHS providers are already doing,' he said.

He said: 'The targets introduced by the previous government did much to improve patients' access to timely treatment. But we now need to look beyond those more simplistic targets and take a more rounded view on the quality of care.'

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), commented: 'Publishing information on a wide variety of areas of care is important both for driving up quality and helping people learn more about their local hospitals and how well they are performing,’ he said.

‘The RCP's own audits on stroke, falls, continence, inflammatory bowel disease, COPD and multiple sclerosis, have shown that regularly measuring and publishing outcomes leads to better patient care.'

The Royal College of Surgeons said it welcomed the framework's focus on improving clinical outcomes.

Norman Williams, president of the college, commented: 'It will help the NHS Commissioning Board, CCGs, 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.

'At the moment, patient death rates and standards of care vary significantly between hospitals and specialties and, as we have consistently recommended in our national guidance, this must be improved.'

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