The Department of Health is developing a “learning organisation league table” to rate NHS trusts on how well they report and respond to information, HSJ has learnt.

Richmond House

Richmond House

Richmond House

HSJ has been told by several well placed sources, who asked to remain anonymous, that the department is working on a composite indicator to compare providers on the openness and honesty of their reporting, and how effectively they make changes after incidents.

According to the sources, the rating, which is being referred to as a “learning organisation league table”, is supposed to address the slowness with which NHS organisations frequently investigate incidents, implement recommendations and learn from each other.

HSJ understands the league table will build on measures added to the MyNHS website that rate trusts on their “reporting culture”. It is also likely to draw on indicators in the NHS staff survey about responsiveness, some of which were added in the 2015 survey, whose results are due to be published this month.

One of the sources said the aim was to give a “further nudge” to trusts to help “support local systems to become more open and honest”.

The source added that the league table was as much about improving the willingness of NHS staff to come forward with concerns as it was about improving things for patients.

Embedding a “learning culture” has been central to debate on how to improve safety in the NHS in recent years.

Jeremy Hunt has spoken about the idea of “intelligent transparency” – providing information so organisations know how they are doing against their peers and where they need to improve.

The health secretary has also said he wants to make the NHS “the world’s largest learning organisation”.

HSJ asked the DH about its plans for the league table, but a spokeswoman said the department did not “comment on speculation”.