MPs are piloting a new system designed to hold the Government to account over its pledges on health and social care targets.
The process will see a panel of healthcare experts assess the Government’s progress on meeting its key pledges using the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) scoring system of five ratings – ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’.
The panel will also publish a report providing commentary on its judgement.
The Health and Social Care Committee, which announced the pilot system today (5 August), said the new system is designed to ‘develop and enhance’ its core function of scrutinising the Government, and is expected to aid its ongoing inquiries.
Jeremy Hunt, chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: ‘This will mean the Government is held to account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system, which gives not just an absolute score but key pointers as to how to improve that score next time round.’
The committee said where the panel rates the Government’s performance as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’, it expects the publication of that judgement to ‘galvanise’ the Government and its arm’s-length bodies ‘to action to ensure improvement’. The committee also aims to return to the same topic area after an ‘appropriate period’ to ‘see whether improvements have been made’.
The panel will initially examine progress against targets in maternity services, but will move on to look at other areas, including ‘cancer, mental health and patient safety where a number of vital commitments have been made’, Mr Hunt added.
For each Government commitment, the panel will be judging whether the pledge has been fulfilled or is on track to be met, has been given sufficient funding and has achieved a positive impact for patients.
The panel will have a core membership of three people, plus a further three to six experts, such as clinicians and campaigners, to be chosen for their knowledge in a particular area.
Dame Jane Dacre, consultant physician and rheumatologist and professor of medical education at University College London, has been appointed to chair the panel and to serve as one of the three core members.