GPs could be the first healthcare providers to be subject to new Ofsted-style ratings but it could take up to five years to develop the system for hospitals, HSJ has been told.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Jennifer Dixon was asked to look into the feasibility of an Ofsted-style standards rating for health and social care by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in November. She is due to report at this month.

In a webcast on last week (see video below) she suggested the first providers to receive single ratings “might be social care and possibly less complicated providers in health, meaning general practice”.

“Hospitals might take longer to develop properly if we want to move down into clinical service areas where the data has yet to be developed,” she added.

Speaking to HSJ after the event, Dr Dixon said the consensus among the interested parties she had consulted was there should be “granular” rating for hospitals by service, ward or department. She said it was likely she would recommend the CQC should be the “rater” under any system, as it would need to incorporate information from inspections.