Hospitals will have up to 10 per cent of their income based on patient satisfaction, health secretary Andy Burnham announced yesterday.
The plan to link an increasing proportion of the tariff to patients’ experience of their care was announced as part of Andy Burnham’s five-year strategy for the NHS, From Good to Great: preventative, people-centred, productive.
The areas for savings targeted by the government are generally the right ones but there is not enough evidence yet to suggest how shifting more care out of hospitals will generate £2.7bn of savings
No date has been set by which the full 10 per cent must be achieved, but the amount of the tariff linked to patient satisfaction through the standard national contract will start to increase from April 2011.
Mr Burnham said he wanted to show the scale of his “intent is in double figures”.
He said: “I’ve been surprised by how many people in the NHS are ready for this change and want this change.”
Linking payment to patient satisfaction would not just be at a hospital level but “service by service”, he added, “so that commissioners can be clear about what that means”.
The strategy also revealed that the maximum tariff uplift over the next four years will be 0 per cent.
Mr Burnham said he wants to see more patients treated in the community, which patients prefer and is cheaper than providing hospital care, as the NHS strives to save billions in the next few years.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Andy Burnham’s announcement falls badly short in providing the vision, reform and new ideas that the NHS needs.”
King’s Fund director of policy Dr Anna Dixon said: “Moving care out of hospital and avoiding preventable admissions will be crucial if the NHS is to improve quality of care and meet the financial challenge.”
Nuffield Trust director Jennifer Dixon said: “The government is right that the NHS must transform the way care is delivered to patients in the future so that there is much greater integration between general practice, community care and hospitals, as well as between health and social acre.
“The areas for savings targeted by the government are generally the right ones but there is not enough evidence yet to suggest how shifting more care out of hospitals and into the community will generate the £2.7bn of savings per year suggested.
“The clampdown on the tariff for paying hospitals will encourage every NHS trust to scrutinise their efficiency. But this is a very blunt instrument and there may be better financial incentives for hospitals to encourage them to shift care into the community that it is more appropriate to devise locally.”
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Hospital income link to patient satisfaction