Darzi Review: GPs must publish 'Quality Accounts'
By Steve Nowottny
GPs will be required to publish ‘Quality Accounts' with reports to the public on the quality of service they provide within the next two years, as part of the NHS Next Stage Review.
Speaking at its launch today, health minister Lord Darzi said improving quality and widening patient choice formed the centrepiece of the review.
‘Quality is what the patients are looking for,' he said. ‘At the most vulnerable time in your life, when you're sick, the one thing you want is high quality of care.'
Lord Darzi's report reveals that all healthcare providers working for or on behalf of the NHS will be required to publish ‘Quality Accounts' from April 2010, with reports on the quality of service they provide in every service line, including safety, experience and outcomes.
And detailed comparative information – including the ‘views of local patients' - will be published on the NHS Choices website, as the Government seeks to make patient choice ‘a defining feature of the service.'
The right to choice will now be formalised as part of the new NHS constitution, while ministers are also looking ensure patients have a genuine choice of GP.
The report says: ‘People can indeed choose which GP practice to register with, but in some areas the degree of choice is still restricted by closed patient lists, by practices saying they are ‘open but full', or by narrow practice boundaries.'
Lord Darzi added: ‘This is about giving more clout to patients.'
The NHS Next Stage Review also calls for adjustments to the QOF, with the number of organisational indicators to be cut in favour of new indicators of prevention and clinical effectiveness.
Ministers will also ‘explore the scope' of allowing PCTs to select quality indicators from a ‘national menu' to reflect local priorities.
And the Government will pilot personal health budgets to allow individuals and families greater control over their own care, with direct payment pilots ‘in certain circumstances.'Step change: Alan Johnson, David Nicholson and Lord Darzi at the launch Step change: Alan Johnson, David Nicholson and Lord Darzi at the launch