New NHS quality standards set out by Andrew Lansley

NHS hospitals could lose their right to carry out certain procedures if they fail to meet a new set of NHS ”quality standards” set out by Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary.
New NHS quality standards set out by Andrew LansleySome 150 clinical areas will eventually have their own set of quality standards, with the first three published today covering dementia, blood clots and stroke.

The standards set out the type of care patients can expect and some timeframes for treatment.

Mr Lansley, who has scrapped several of Labour’s key targets, including the guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours, insisted the new standards were not just another set of targets.

Speaking at the launch of the standards, which have been developed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), Mr Lansley said they were not mini-targets as they were ”evidence-based” measures identified by the NHS itself.

”These are standards, not diktats. It is not politicians establishing these, I am not picking them out. ‘If I started doing that, I would be distorting clinical standards.”

The latest standards from Nice are drawn from various sources, including existing Nice guidelines, and reports from the Royal Colleges, the Department of Health and the National Audit Office.

It will be up to local managers – or possibly GPs in the future – to check if the NHS is meeting them.

If trusts fail to reach the standards, they could face losing contracts to carry out services, such as stroke care, which could be commissioned from other hospitals instead.

It is unclear how data will be collected nationally so patients can assess whether standards are being met.

Dr Tim Kendall, who led development of the dementia standard, said it would help transform the experience of dementia patients but also support carers.

”Some carers suffer far more than they should. People with dementia effectively die while the person caring for them watches them disappear,” he said.

The stroke standard sets out how patients can expect to receive a minimum of 45 minutes, five days a week, of therapies to help them improve, such as speech therapy or help with movement.


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