Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Trusts' Income to Be Tied to Approval Ratings

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Trusts' Income to Be Tied to Approval Ratings

Article excerpt

NHS managers have welcomed moves to link a proportion of trust income to patient satisfaction but are calling for organisations to be judged fairly.

High quality care for ail the final report of cancer surgeon and health minister Lord Ara Darzi's review of the NHS, was published on June 30. It recommended that quality be the organising principle of the health service and that patient satisfaction be given a much higher priority.

For the first time, care quality and treatment outcomes across the NHS will be measured and the results published. Organisations that demonstrate high levels of patient satisfaction will be given more money.

NHS chief executive David Nicholson said that between £7m and £9m of an average district general hospital's income would depend on demonstrating top-quality clinical performance.

But NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards said that while 'the general principle is probably right', there were questions over how such a system would work in practice.

Would trusts be rewarded by how much they had improved or for their performance relative to other trusts, he asked.

'It's tricky because most satisfaction measures run quite high, so to get significant improvement measurements you need quite big samples,' he told Public Finance.

The alternative, of cross-sectional comparisons which compare performance across trusts - was problematic because of local population characteristics, he added.

'Work done by [pollsters] Mori shows that trusts that service areas which are ethnically diverse seem to have more difficulty producing good scores'

Overall, the confederation was positive about Darzi's report, saying it contained most things NHS leaders have said they wanted. …

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