Two further major developments have been announced this week in the drive to improve transparency and standards across the NHS.
GP Surgeries (CQC)
The Care Quality Commission now ranks GP surgeries in England for various criteria of excellence and in terms of their risks of providing poor care. Around 80% of surgeries in England are of low concern. The CQC’s “intelligent monitoring” uses national datasets.
Watchdog ranks GP surgeries by risk. London: BBC Health News, November 18th 2014.
GP inspections based on best available data. London: Care Quality Commission, November 17th 2014.
“The ‘intelligent monitoring’ of general practices are made up of different types of evidence on patient experience, care and treatment, based on sources including surveys and official statistics”.
This relates to the main CQC information hub for rankings and ratings of GP practices, shown below:
Our intelligent monitoring of GP practices. London: Care Quality Commission, November 2014.
The Power of Information: Gone Awry?
The Care Quality Commission has had to apologise to hundreds of GPs for publishing incorrect (and reputation-damaging) patient safety risk assessments. There were (initially) faulty assessments of GP practices based on unreliable measures; so-called “poor data”. The following measure has been removed from CQC calculations completely:
- Whether patients were able to get an appointment with a doctor or nurse last time they tried.
The following measures have since been re-calculated:
- Coronary heart disease incidence.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) incidence.
- Unnecessary A&E admissions.
- Dementia diagnosis rates.
Bloch, S. (2014). GP ‘disgust’ at watchdog errors. London: BBC News / BBC Health News, December 5th 2014.
Outcomes Data for Surgeons
Performance data, including mortality outcomes, concerning roughly 5,000 surgeons in England is now published online via MyNHS.
NHS to highlight surgeon performance data. London: BBC Health News, November 19th 2014.
Critics have said that the evidence is not robust enough for meaningful comparisons in some fields. Others point to anecdotal evidence that some surgeons may be disinclined to take on difficult cases.
Hunt on Transparency Culture and the NHS Constitution
“From this week, users can search consultant outcome data as part of a world-leading transparency drive. MyNHS also includes searchable data on food quality, staffing, patient safety and mental health, along with many other areas of care… Patients will be able to see the Care Quality Commission’s individual risk rating for GP practices on the site.”
MyNHS launches as a driver for performance improvement. London: Department of Health, November 20th 2014.
“The data will allow the NHS and patients to better see and measure progress in health outcomes and will become an increasingly powerful resource for patients, doctors and local NHS commissioners of these services”.
Formal launch of MyNHS. London: Department of Health, November 19th 2014.
Further coverage on this topic, and on the introduction of new regulations (the Statutory Duty of Candour / Professional Duty of Candour and the Fit and Proper Person’s Test) for a more open and accountable healthcare system:
Jeremy Hunt: message to NHS staff on transparent, safe healthcare. London [Online]: NHS England, November 28th 2014.