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More COF indicators to cope with ‘unintended consequences’

by Louise Naughton
18 May 2012

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Additional indicators will be drafted into the Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF) to cope with its unintended consequences, it is claimed.
The number of possible indicators currently stands at 120.
Speaking at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) annual conference in Birmingham on Tuesday (15 May), Professor Daniel Keenan, Chair of the COF Advisory Committee, admitted there will be unintended consequences of COF but was unable to identify them.
He said the trick is ‘seeing them and not denying them”.
“If something pops up with unintended consequences, nobody has lost anything,” he said.
“We will just get another indicator to cope with that.”
Former PCT Chief and Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation David Stout has criticised NICE for “rushing ahead” with the design of the COF and said the adding of more indicators will not help shirk its unintended consequences.
“There are always hazards associated with this type of work and it would be helpful to know what they will be before going ahead,” he said.
“It is still not brilliantly clear what the COF indicators are for and how they will be used.
“NICE is presuming the purpose of the COF and simply guessing at its unintended consequences – just adding more indicators will not help.”
Professor Keenan said the committee will make its recommendations for COF indicators to the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) by July.
“I don’t think [the NHS CB] will come back to us as they will have the final decision on what indicators will be measured,” he said.
“With the list of things they have to do, I suspect this is quite far down their list.”