Headlines: April 11th, 2006

The Healthcare Commission has published a radically revised approach to measuring the performance of NHS trusts which will include information from many different sources. Complaints, investigations, stakeholders in local communities, and feedback from operational staff will help identify poor performance. The assessment of core standards will be cross checked with information from other bodies. It is expected that nearly 200 organisations will provide data and the assessments will include about 3,000 individual items of information.As a result of the recent difficulties many NHS trusts have had in managing their budgets there will be a new focus on financial management and the use of resources in the revised measurement arrangements. This new element will help to provide a comprehensive assessment of NHS organisations recognising the importance of both the quality of services and sound financial management in delivering sustainable high quality care for patients.

Performance will be measured through an annual health check designed to find out if healthcare organisations are getting the basics right and if they are making and sustaining progress. The quality element of the annual rating will score trusts on a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair and Weak. The assessment for 2005/2006, which will use the new approach, will be published in October 2006.