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NHS Outcomes Framework: Goals to focus on patient surveys

  • 7 December 2011
  • From the section UK
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Patient surveys are to be at the centre of new goals to measure the quality of care received in the NHS in England.

Speaking at a London hospital, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will call for focus on what matters most to patients.

The latest NHS Outcomes Framework stresses surveys of patients, including children, and bereaved relations.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Lansley said patients would be asked: "Was the service and experience you had good or not?"

Of bereaved relatives he said: "We'll be... asking them, after a suitable passage of time, what was their loved one's experience of care and how well were they looked after towards the end of life."

He added: "[We will] ask children about their experience. So five- to 16-year-olds would be part of this survey, with their parents, so for the first time we'll be measuring as part of the outcomes the children's experience of their care."

'Clear focus'

The latest framework aims to measure the "responsiveness" of staff to patient needs when staying in hospital.

It is also designed to improve women's experiences of maternity services, increase the number of people who can access an NHS dentist and help older people recover independence after illness.

Mr Lansley said: "We have to clear the decks and be clear this is what we are focusing on.

"People say: 'In three-and-a-half years' time, in 2015, at the next election, how will we know whether you've succeeded or not?' The answer is: 'Have the outcomes improved?'

"It will be my failure if we haven't improved them and the NHS should feel that it has not succeeded, that is what we are setting out to do."

He said he was concerned that for many diseases, including cancer, Britain's survival rates lagged behind other countries.

"If we were to achieve internationally benchmarked, highest levels of cancer survival, we would save 5,000 lives a year. That's what our cancer outcome strategy is aiming for," he stressed.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Doctors and nurses will roll their eyes in sheer disbelief at this news.

"The government that promised to scrap NHS targets now loads 60 new targets on an NHS already under severe pressure. It will add red tape and bureaucracy just as the NHS is struggling to cope with the financial challenge and the biggest reorganisation in its history."

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