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Quality indicators to be developed

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The first national quality indicators, or metrics, to compare NHS performance will be unveiled in December and used for acute care from next year.

These will be developed with input from patients, the public and staff, according to the NHS Next Stage Review.

Local metrics will also be developed. ‘Our aim is for NHS organisations to freely develop the measures that will best help them to review the quality of the services they offer regularly,’ the review states.

The government is also keen for NHS teams to develop ‘clinical dashboards’ to
present selected national and local metrics deemed specifically useful in a simple graphical format for easy comparison. They are being piloted in East London, Nottingham and Bolton.

Last month ministers outlined plans for metrics to specifically measure nursing quality.

The government is also keen for the NHS to develop ‘Clinical Dashboards’ which will present selected national and locally developed comparison measures in a simple graphical format as tool to drive quality improvement. Dashboards are already being piloted in East London, Nottingham and Bolton.

Last month health secretary Alan Johnson announced proposals for metrics to measure nurses on the levels of compassion they show to patients.

Nurses could see themselves rated on such things as good handwashing, patient nutrition, falls reduction, how well they inform patients on the progress of their treatment and how they minimise pain.

NHS next stage review: key aims of the review

  • Quality of services will be the driver for the shape of the future of the health service. This will be reinforced by the new, more powerful health regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

  • The NHS should be focused on helping people stay healthy and improving health. This will be achieved through partnership working with other agencies.

  • Patient choice is to be extended. Patients will be able to choose between GP practices and the right to choose will
    be enshrined in the new NHS Constitution.

  • Staff should have more say in how services are developed and there will be a shift away from setting national targets.

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