The Coalition Government’s White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, set out how the improvement of healthcare outcomes for all will be the primary purpose of the NHS. This means ensuring that the accountabilities running throughout the system are squarely focussed on the outcomes achieved for patients not the processes by which they are achieved.
At a national level, the government believes that the focus and accountability should, as far as possible, be centred around the outcomes of care. Locally, the structures and processes of care will need to be monitored but focusing on these too heavily at a national level can lead to a distortion of clinical priorities and risks creating a whole system of accountability that it is more concerned with the means than the result – an accountability system that has lost sight of the purpose of the NHS.
The Government is now looking for help in constructing an NHS Outcomes Framework. The framework will act as a catalyst for driving up quality and promoting equity and excellence across all services and will provide an indication of the overall performance of the system in an international context. It is planned to be a transparent framework that will be used to hold the new NHS Commissioning Board to account for progress but equally one that patients, carers and the public can use to hold the Government to account.
The consultation document explains and asks for views on:
- the principles that should underpin the NHS Outcomes Framework;
- a proposed structure and approach that could be used to develop the framework;
- the potential outcome indicators (existing and future) that could be presented in the framework, including the proposed rationales for selection;
- how the proposed NHS Outcomes Framework can support equality across all groups and can help reduce health inequalities; and
- how the framework can support the necessary partnership working between public health and social care services needed to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.
The consultation closes on 11 October 2010.
Download the consultation document here.