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NHS clinical teams to be rated against global peers

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The government is set to introduce a new ‘Michelin-style’ accreditation system that will see the best clinical teams, wards and departments in the NHS awarded a ‘gold standard’ for excellence.

The proposals for the scheme were announced last week by health minister Lord Darzi on the first anniversary of the publication the NHS Next Stage Review document High Quality Care for All.

The scheme, highlighted in a progress report on the next stage review, will give NHS clinical teams an award for excellence and will see staff and services assessed by peer review and an international panel, which will judge the standard of care patients are being given.

Lord Darzi said the accreditation scheme would introduce healthy competition, mark out best practice and encourage trusts and health workers to aspire to world-class health services. He said that it would apply to specific areas of care such as cancer, maternity or stroke.

‘What we want to do is introduce a voluntary accreditation system which acknowledges whether the service is nationally and internationally recognised,’ he told The Times last week. ‘I want to see how our best compares with the best in US and Europe, and learn from the best international examples.

‘It is about showing where a service stands as a benchmark. Here are organisations that are the jewels of the NHS, and we want to acknowledge their achievements. It’s no longer an aspiration to meet the core standards of the regulator – that is a given. We should have an ambition and aspiration to actually compete globally,’ he added.

Other new measures announced last week by the government include prevention and well-being programmes for all staff to promote exercise and healthy eating, and a national commitment to introduce ‘clinician budgets’ that allow nurses and doctors greater control over hospital finances.

Health secretary Andy Burnham added that the government was aiming to ‘deep clean’ the target regime, to improve patient care and staff satisfaction.

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