All acute and primary care trusts are to have their performance publicly ranked against 15 efficiency indicators from this summer.

All acute and primary care trusts are to have their performance publicly ranked against 15 efficiency indicators from this summer.

Announcing the quarterly productivity metrics, health minister Andy Burnham said they would not be used as a 'big stick' with which to beat trusts, and that it was up to organisations how they chose to use the figures.

The Department of Health had previously said that only best and average figures against indicators would be published so trusts could benchmark themselves. But this week the DoH said the performance of every acute and primary care trust against 15 indicators, rising to a total of 30, would be published each quarter.

The Healthcare Commission is examining how it might incorporate the metrics in future inspection regimes, but has 'definitely ruled out including all of them'.

Mr Burnham admitted there would be 'anxiety' around the publication of performance against the metrics. 'People will think: &Quot;Oh my God not another set of targets, not another set of hoops to jump through&Quot;. I think that is the main anxiety,' Mr Burnham conceded.

'But this is data that needs to be available for good management purposes. It is not another big stick with which to put people under pressure.'

Trusts will be given the option of signing up to a website that will give more information about their performance. The indicators were produced by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, which was formed almost a year ago and officially launched this week, alongside its first report providing 'top tips' on where commissioners and providers can make the biggest productivity and efficiency gains.

The institute estimates that the NHS could save more than£700m by taking its advice in conjunction with the metrics.

The report contains details on nine of the metrics, with trusts being informed about the other six during the week. It says avoidable emergency admissions could save the NHS£120m a year, and reducing unnecessary outpatient appointments by up to half could save£50m.

A DoH spokesperson said the publication of comparative information did not amount to league tables: 'Yes they are ranked. But a league table would assume there are losers and winners.'

He said the data would allow organisations to compare themselves with peers with 'similar demographic and geographic issues'.

The Healthcare Commission has previously raised concerns that the metrics could lead to 'micro-management' by government. But Mr Burnham said they were 'quite the reverse' and 'empowered local ownership, local management and local agenda-setting'.

'The difference would be if there were right or wrong answers or if there was a finish line. But there isn't. This is about allowing trusts to ask the questions themselves.'