Patrick Keady

Quality : good start for Quality Accounts




NHS Quality Accounts are annual reports about the quality of healthcare services delivered by NHS Providers to the public.


NHS Quality Accounts 2010/11 summarises findings from the Audit Commission’s reviews of quality accounts at NHS acute and mental health Trusts.  The Commission also tested 24 indicators at 12 mental health trusts.  And the report summarises the Audit Commission’s Audit Practice reviews of quality reports at 52 NHS Foundation Trusts.


One of the key conclusions is that data quality is generally more robust in NHS Acute Trusts quality accounts relative to NHS Mental Health Trusts.  The report’s findings also show that mental health trusts did not adhere as closely to the NHS Foundation Trust regulator Monitor’s listed indicators, where acute trusts performed better.


NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts are recommended not to treat Quality Accounts as a standalone exercise and instead, to embed the producion of quality accounts into Trusts’ wider quality improvement agendas.  The report adds that Trusts should engage more fully and effectively with stakeholders, including patients, staff, commissioners, local improvement networks and overview and scrutiny committees.


With respect to performance indicators, the report found that mental health trusts were choosing a more varied range of performance indicators, than acute Trusts.  Of the 24 indicators tested, only 14 were specified in national guidance.


The report concludes that NHS Foundation Trusts (FTs) are effectively a year ahead of NHS Trusts.


However, FTs and NHS Trusts are advised that there is mre to do.  They ar recommended to consider the points raised in the report as to how they can improve their processes for producing quality accounts.


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