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Thursday, 31 March 2005 12:06
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Spot checks to replace star rating in hospitals
The Healthcare Commission has announced that routine hospital inspections are to be abandoned in favour of spot checks.

The new system aims to reduce regulatory burdens while giving the public a more accurate picture of performance. It will for the first time offer patient and public representatives a formal role in judging the quality of services.

Local authorities and patients groups will also be invited to comment on how the health services are doing, as part of an annual appraisal of all NHS trusts in England.

Sir Ian Kennedy, Chairman of the Commission, said: "We are taking a radical first step towards modernising the regulation of our health services. We have created a system to identify poor performance without fettering those doing well.

"We are offering the public a richer picture of performance while cutting through the bureaucracy that frustrates people actually delivering services. We must now work with all parties to make sure this programme is delivered”.

Mr James Johnson, Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), said:

"In its consultation with the Healthcare Commission, the BMA has sought to ensure that any new healthcare checking system is practical, meaningful for patients, and supports doctors' work in delivering the best possible patient care.

"The Commission's new system - the Annual Health Check - has addressed many of our concerns. Its emphasis on reducing bureaucracy, cutting the costs of inspection substantially, and focussing on healthcare across the NHS and private sectors, are all welcome measures.

"We are also pleased that patients and staff are heavily involved, and that the process itself is open to review. We look forward to examining the new system, and working with the Commission to address any remaining concerns”.


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