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Health check changes unveiled

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Details of an updated framework for hospital assessments, due to come into effect in the next financial year, have been announced.

The results of the Annual Health Check 2008–2009 will be published for the first time by the Care Quality Commission, the newly merged health and social care watchdog that will incorporate the Healthcare Commission.

The actual model of assessment will remain broadly unchanged. Trusts will measure themselves against a series of national benchmarks and give themselves a ‘quality of services’ rating, which will then be verified by spot checks and inspections.

However, the quality of care provided to people with learning disabilities will be rated for the first time, and participation in clinical audit has been made a higher priority for acute and specialist trusts.

Trusts will now be checked against ‘financial management’ instead of the broader term ‘use of resources’.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: ‘We have refined the assessment to make it more relevant to different types of healthcare.’

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