Published: 29/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5916 Page 7

Healthcare bodies will be largely expected to benchmark themselves against the new performance criteria being drawn up by the Healthcare Commission.

The commission is due to produce draft criteria in the late autumn, following discussions with clinicians and other regulators.

And HSJ understands that the commission will base its criteria on an interpretation of each of the new health and social care standards published by the Department of Health last week, which would apply to any healthcare provider.

The seven care standards remain very similar to those announced at the beginning of the consultation earlier this year and cover safety, clinical and cost effectiveness, governance, patient focus, accessible and responsive care, care environment and amenities, and public health.

The commission will discuss the development of criteria until the end of September and will attempt to align them across NHS bodies and private providers, which will fall under the its remit.

HSJ understands that the majority of the criteria will not include specific numerical targets, instead producing aims that could be applied to different healthcare sectors.

It is also keen to keep the number of criteria as low as possible.

lThe DoH has been criticised by pressure groups for failing to include specific mental and sexual health targets in its new set of standards.

Organisations including mental health charity Rethink and HIV and AIDS charity the Terrence Higgins Trust have warned that the two sectors could suffer as a result.