Government reforms to make money follow the patient have led to lower hospital costs and higher patient volumes but have not reduced quality of care, according to researchers.
The research, published in today’s British Medical Journal, compared hospital activity in areas that used payment by results and those that did not between 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Despite falling hospital spending on each patient, the Aberdeen University researchers said they found no evidence that the quality of care diminished. However, they did find that the quality of care improved over the time period in those hospitals which became foundation trusts.
The researchers conclude: “Taken together, the analysis suggests that payment by results is capable of achieving, and has in the short time since its adoption actually achieved, real changes in delivery of health care in hospitals in England.”
Has payment by results improved care standards?