Date Published: 9 October 2006
Healthcare watchdog to unveil most comprehensive assessment of NHS performance
Results out this week:
The Healthcare Commission will this week unveil the results of the most comprehensive assessment of NHS performance (UK National Health Service) ever carried out.
The independent healthcare watchdog is responsible for assessing and reporting on the performance of healthcare organisations on an annual basis. For NHS trusts, this involves issuing an annual performance rating for all NHS trusts in England.
Over the past four years NHS organisations have been given star ratings, which were based on performance against key targets set by the government.
But now, for the first time, the NHS will be assessed against the annual health check, a more comprehensive and therefore tougher system of assessing performance.
Gary Needle, the Healthcare Commission’s head of the annual health check, said:
On Thursday 12 October, the Commission will rate trusts on two areas: quality of services and use of resources. It will give each trust a rating on a four-point scale of “excellent”, “good”, “fair” or “weak”.
The score for the quality of services rating will be based on how well trusts meet:
The score for use of resources is based on how well an organisation in the NHS manages its finances.
For non-foundation trusts, the Commission uses the Audit Commission’s assessment of trust performance. For foundation trusts, the Healthcare Commission uses information from Monitor on their financial risk rating.
In a bid to minimise the impact on those providing health services and use information to target inspection at areas of risk, the Commission has made a radical move to change the way it carries out assessments.
First, the Commission asked trusts to satisfy themselves they provide good services and put responsibility on boards to sign off a declaration of how they have done. All boards submitted a self-declaration on how they performed against the government’s 24 core standards during the financial year 2005/2006.
Then the Commission cross-checked the declarations against 2,000 data items, including information from other organisations. It fed in the views of patients and the public by taking comments from patient and public involvement forums and the overview and scrutiny committees of local authorities.
After this, the Commission carried out inspections where it found discrepancies with what the trust declared. Around 10% of trusts received a follow-up visit for this reason, with an additional 10% getting a random spot check.
Patients and the public will have access to all trusts on the newly constructed website www.healthcarecommission.org.uk. On the ratings section of the website, people will be able to find information on healthcare organisations by postcode, via a map or by searching for an organisation by name. Individual trusts can be compared against other similar trusts or against national performance.
Mr Needle also said:
The website gives patients information to help answer questions such as:
Source: Healthcare Commission.