Proposed registration rules for NHS providers are “far too weak” to make sure they take account of patient experience, the Picker Institute has warned.

The proposed rules say providers must “have regard to” patients’ views but, the think tank says, this is not the same as patients’ experience of care.

The Department of Health has identified measuring patient experience as important to improving the quality of care.

But Picker head of policy and communications Don Redding said the commitment needed to be given “teeth” in the registration rules, which form the basis of the Care Quality Commission’s regulation.

The regulations, which the DH is consulting on, say providers must make arrangements for patients to make and be involved in decisions about their care. But, this is only required “so far as reasonably practicable”.

Mr Redding said this should be removed and the CQC decide how to apply it.

Patient surveys, he said, were currently reported to NHS organisations but they were not required to respond to or act on them. This meant patient experience had “no traction”. He said: “Where are the mechanisms that will ensure boards noticing and acting on feedback?

“These regulations are an opportunity to ensure they are an integral part of the new system.”

The DH said other parts of the NHS system would “secure further improvement in patient and public involvement”. The consultation runs until 29 May.