Clinical commissioning groups could be judged against up to 120 performance measures, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has revealed today.

The first phase of consultation on the “commissioning outcomes framework” was published this morning.

The framework, proposed to be implemented when CCGs take over NHS commissioning in 2013-14, consists of a set of indictors intended to measure health outcomes and quality of care.

The indicators have been developed by NICE, and would be used by the NHS Commissioning Board to identify how far services commissioned by GPs are reducing health inequalities. Performance against it will also influence bonuses paid to practices.

The framework is also intended to provide information on quality to the public, and allow CCGs to compare their performance with their neighbours.

NICE deputy chief executive Gillian Leng said it was important the indicators were “meaningfully measurable” at CCG level. However, speaking at a Westminster Health Forum seminar, she said it was likely there would only be 50-100 indicators.

British Medical Association GPs committee deputy chair Richard Vautrey told HSJ the body would prefer closer to 50 than 100 measures.

“It almost mirrors the previous target culture that the government were so against when in opposition,” he said.

“Clearly the fewer targets we have and the more meaningful and robust they are the better. The problem with targets is they appear reasonable but they have unintended consequences.”

Johnny Marshall, executive member of the National Association of Primary Care, said: “From a CCG perspective… I don’t think any of us really understand the practical implications of delivering what may look like between 50 and 100 sensible things and how that can be done on a fixed running cost.”

However, King’s Fund medical adviser Paul Zollinger-Read said 50-100 measures would be significantly less than the “hundreds” against which primary care trusts are judged.

“There’s fewer of them and they’re outcomes rather than process based; it’s a much better place to be,” he added.

Ms Leng said NICE’s aim was to “retire” indicators as they ceased to be relevant. She also revealed “early discussions” had taken place on developing a quality standard for long term conditions that crossed disease type.

The framework will sit alongside measures of performance in other areas such as finance and commitment to patient and public involvement.

Anyone with an interest in health is invited to comment on the proposals before the end of February.

The final set of commissioning outcomes indicators will be revealed by the NHS Commissioning Board in the autumn.