OFSTED style ratings for hospitals are not specific enough for patient procedures, Francis says

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 16 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3194
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1Birmingham

Rating hospitals in the same way that the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services, and Skills (OFSTED) rates schools—an idea proposed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt—“may help” but doesn’t go far enough, Robert Francis QC told the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) conference on 15 May.

The lukewarm response by the author of the highly critical report into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was echoed by David Prior, Hunt’s own appointment as chair of the Care Quality Commission.

“OFSTED ratings of overall hospital performance are not enough,” Francis said. “If I’m going into hospital for a treatment, I want to know how it performs at that particular procedure.” Prior said: “A rating of a hospital as an institution has a value but it’s limited. You also need a specialist rating for individual services. That’s more likely to …

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