The new rating system will assess maternity care, mental health, and the care for: diabetes, cancer, dementia, and learning disabilities, using local clinical commissioning group (CCG) data and verified by experts in each topic area.
For example, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar will verify cancer ratings and the government’s Mental Health Taskforce chairman Paul Farmer will lead on mental health ratings.
Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said: “By being more transparent than ever before about crucial services and freeing up more time for GPs to care, we really can make NHS patients the most powerful in the world.”
The initial ratings will be published in June 2016, and, like GP practices, each CCG will receive a Care Quality Commission-style rating for each clinical area of outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.
The aim behind this is to create greater transparency by giving patients access to performance data, and make local healthcare services “much more accountable to their local population than previously,” the DH said in a release.
In response, Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs said: “We question whether the introduction of Ofsted-style ratings systems for area health teams will improve patient care whilst there is no evidence that this does improve outcomes in a health setting.”
Similarly, Dr Steve Kell, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners was unsure how productive the rating would be. He said: “The secretary of state is right to move towards greater transparency and we agree that patients and local people should have more information about those who are accountable for buying local healthcare services. Bringing in expert moderation as part of the overall process should provide further reassurance to the public and patients.
“The recent King’s Fund report Measuring the performance of local health systems,highlighted the complexity of the current healthcare system that CCGs work in, and therefore how difficult it is to simply rate them with an aggregate score. The recommendations in that report to provide information for patients and the public at various levels of detail would offer a more rounded and realistic view of a local health system.”