Greater measurement and analysis of the performance of NHS providers will drive up quality in the service and help acheive the goal of more personalised patient care, according to Lord Ara Darzi, who published his final report on the next stage of the NHS today.
“Clinical dashboards” will be published, making plain to doctors and patients how hospitals and GP surgeries are performing. Much of the performance analysis these will draw on will come from patients' experiences of the service they recieve.
And a new NHS Constitution will enshrine the principles and values of the NHS, guaranteeing patients’ access to drugs and treatments approved by NICE.
“As a surgeon I know how vital it is to balance the quality of the patient's experience ... with the success of the treatment they receive,” said Lord Darzi.
“By measuring this quality across the service and publishing that information for the first time, both staff and patients can work together to make better informed choices about their care.”
NHS staff at a local level will be given the responsibility for innovation and improvements in quality of care, said Lord Darzi. And a new workforce strategy “will make career progression clearer, easier and more flexible for all staff”.
The NHS Constitution - the first of its kind in the world, according to the DH - will include a series of pledges aimed at ensuring that careers in the NHS are rewarding and that staff are provided with the training and support they need.
The Constitution will legally enshrine patients’ rights to any treatments approved by NICE where clinically appropriate. Local NHS boards that decide not to fund drugs for which there are no NICE guidelines will have to explain their decision to patients. The NICE appraisal process will also speed up so that guidance will be issued within a few months of a new drug’s launch.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “The content of the Constitution was not dreamt up by me or civil servants in Whitehall. It is something that has arisen out of discussions with thousands of NHS staff and patients across the country,”
“What we have come up with is not set in stone but is a good basis for further consultation,” he added.
A detailed report on GP services, NHS Next Stage Review: Our Vision for Primary and Community Care, will be published shortly, providing the details of how Lord Darzi’s plans will affect primary care.
The Quality and Outcomes Framework will be adjusted “to provide better incentives for maintaining good health as well as good care,” says today’s report.
Lord Darzi’s report, NHS Next Stage Review: High Quality Care for All, makes no mention of “polyclinics” in its 92 pages, but reiterates that the 150 GP-led “health centres” that he announced in his interim report in October will increase access to primary care and “reflect local needs and priorities”.
“Primary care trusts will ensure that these centres are open at more convenient hours that fit with people’s lifestyles (8am to 8pm every day)” says the report.
GPs will also promote a nationwide “Reduce your Risk” campaign to raise awareness of free vascular checks for 40 to 74-year-olds and help people to know when they need to get help.
Today’s publication is the culmination of a 12-month review, led by 2,000 clinicians and staff and involving 60,000 patients.