New system for assessing health targets to be introduced
A new system is to be established to enable the Commons Health Committee to assess whether health targets are being met in England.
A panel comprised of apolitical health experts will report to the Commons Health Committee and will assess progress made on policy pledges, grading performances between “inadequate” and “outstanding”.
Where improvements are required, the panel and committee will seek to push for them.
The panel will be chaired by University College London professor of medical education, Dame Jane Dacre. Dame Jane has also served as president of the Royal College of Physicians in the past.
She said that the panel would be both fair and impartial, adding that patients and users of NHS services will be asked to contribute to the panel’s work, along with experts in certain health fields.
Dame Jane said: "It will be challenging, but I am committed to using available evidence to evaluate pledges, with the aim of improving patient care."
The panel’s role will be to assess the extent to which commitments made by the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Improvement and other public bodies are being properly followed through, reporting back to the committee with its findings.
Its tactics will be based on those deployed by the Care Quality Commission, the inspectorate body for various healthcare services including care homes, hospitals and GP surgeries.
The panel’s first study will explore the standards of maternity care services in England. It will determine whether individual targets are appropriate, the extent to which the targets have been met or are on track to be met, whether funding is sufficient, and patient outcomes.
The committee’s chair, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: “This will mean the government is held to account by an evaluation process similar to that used across the NHS and social care system which gives not just an absolute score but key pointers as to how to improve that score next time round.
“We hope it will focus attention on areas where a number of vital commitments have been made.”