Ofsted style ratings are to be given to each area of the country for performance in a range of clinical areas including cancer, dementia and mental health, Jeremy Hunt will announce today at HSJ’s annual lecture.

  • Jeremy Hunt to reveal Ofsted style ratings for a range of clinical areas at tonight’s HSJ annual lecture
  • Initial ratings to be published in June
  • Hunt to announce measures to stop “pointless” referrals from hospitals back to GPs
  • Follow the lecture live on hsj.co.uk

The health secretary will outline plans to develop new ratings for each clinical commissioning group patch. Areas to be covered will also include diabetes, learning disabilities and maternity.

The theme of Mr Hunt’s lecture will be patient empowerment. It is the second of the annual lectures, the last was given by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens last year.

HSJ understands the health secretary’s plans will see each CCG receive, for each clinical area, a headline rating such as “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate”. These will be based on data and “verified by experts” in each field.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt will say the government is investing an extra £10bn to transform services

Experts for each clinical area will be taking a view on every CCG’s rating, HSJ understands. They will include the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar, and the government’s mental health taskforce chair Paul Farmer.

The Department of Health said initial ratings will be published in June. NHS England’s existing assurance regime for CCGs for 2015-16, agreed earlier this year, is already due to produce single ratings for each group on a similar timetable.

Mr Hunt asked the King’s Fund to report on how to “publish ratings on the overall quality of care provided to different patient groups in every local health economy”, following disagreement with commissioners over CCG ratings.

He had planned to focus ratings on five patient groups including older people, people with long term conditions and the “generally healthy”.

The King’s Fund advised against ratings based on population groups, or single ratings based on performance indicators, earlier this month. It recommended the creation of a top level, small set of “headline indicators to present key performance information to the public”.

At the HSJ lecture, the health secretary will also detail new measures to stop “pointless” referrals from hospitals back to GPs, and introducing a single payment system to simplify the payment of GP practices, which it said would save them time, and making GP surgeries paperless by 2018.

Mr Hunt will announce plans to incorporate a named accountable clinician for every patient into planning guidance from next year, taking forward the recommendations from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. He will also refer to NHS England’s plans to increase the choice in maternity, end of life care and the rollout of personal budgets.

Mr Hunt has commissioned American professor Bob Wachter to do a review on lessons the NHS needs to learn to move into a digital future.

Mr Hunt will say: “This government believes in the NHS and its values and we’re investing an extra £10bn to transform services during this Parliament. A key part of that transformation is building a more patient focused culture.

“We’ve made progress in creating a stronger partnership between doctor and patient, but we still put too many obstacles in the way of doctors and nurses wanting to do the right thing.

“By being more transparent than ever before about crucial services and freeing up more time for GPs to care, we really can make NHS patients the most powerful in the world.”

Mr Hunt will give the HSJ annual lecture, held in conjunction with advisory firm FTI Consulting, at 5.30pm today in London to an invited audience of healthcare leaders.

The lecture was launched last year to provide a high profile annual platform for a leading figure in healthcare to set out their long term vision for the UK’s health service.

Responding to the announcement about ratings, NHS Clinical Commissioners co-chair and Bassetlaw CCG chair Steve Kell said he supported “greater transparency” and “expert moderation” but said: “The recent King’s Fund report Measuring the performance of local health systems, highlighted the complexity of the current healthcare system that CCGs work in, and therefore how difficult it is to simply rate them with an aggregate score.

“The recommendations in that report to provide information for patients and the public at various levels of detail would offer a more rounded and realistic view of a local health system.”