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Department of Health Publishes First NHS Outcomes Framework

The Department of Health recently published the first National Health Service (NHS) Outcomes Framework, which sets out the national aims for improving quality of care and patient outcomes in the NHS in 2012–13. The framework is organized into five areas: 1) preventing premature death; 2) improving quality of life for chronically ill patients; 3) improving recovery following illness or injury; 4) ensuring positive patient experience; and 5) improving patient safety, including preventing avoidable harm.

The framework identifies national outcomes goals and corresponding indicators for which, subject to Parliamentary approval, the Secretary of State for Health would hold the NHS Commissioning Board accountable. The Secretary of State for Health and the Department of Health would not be setting out how the outcomes would be delivered. Rather, the NHS Commissioning Board, in cooperation with general practitioner (GP) commissioning consortia, would be tasked with determining how to deliver improvements. Specifically, the NHS Commissioning Board would commission the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to develop evidence-based quality standards for particular conditions, which would then be use to develop local-level outcomes and indicators. A quality premium would be linked to certain outcomes.


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