The first public results from NHS North West’s pay-for-quality scheme appear to show improvements after only three months.

In three out of five clinical areas being measured, the average score across the region has improved month-on-month, initial figures show.

Each area of performance of all NHS providers in the region is being rated based on a “bundle” of quality indicators.

For example, indicators for heart attack patients include the proportion receiving aspirin and beta blockers on arrival and discharge, and whether a thrombolytic is received within 30 minutes of arrival. Top performers at the end of the first year of the programme, called Advancing Quality, will be given additional payments.

The regional average scores for heart attack, heart failure and hip and knee replacement all showed increases between October and December. Scores for heart bypass and pneumonia increased in November then declined slightly in December.

The data has not yet been assured and scores for each trust will not be published until spring next year.

However, early information seen by HSJ suggests organisations’ heart failure scores for the first three months will vary between about 35 and 85. For hip and knee they vary from about 30 to 100.

NHS Central Lancashire primary care trust chief executive Joe Rafferty said the early results demonstrated comprehensive quality improvement schemes could be agreed and established.

“It will help win the argument that we can improve quality while reducing costs,” he said.

“People can understand their relative position and the sense of competition is really important [to driving improvement].”