Intended for healthcare professionals


Yet more performance ratings for the NHS

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 10 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3836
  1. Hugh Alderwick, senior policy adviser,
  2. Veena Raleigh, senior fellow
  1. King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: h.alderwick{at}

New STP ratings are narrowly focused and centrally driven

In July NHS England published its first “progress dashboard” for the NHS’s 44 new sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs)1—the groups of NHS organisations and local authorities expected to deliver the NHS’s sustainability and transformation plans (also, confusingly, referred to as STPs). The plans cover all areas of NHS spending in England up to 2021. The plans, and the partnerships set up to deliver them, represent a major shift in approach to NHS reform, prioritising collaboration over competition as the route to improving services and reducing financial deficits.2

The new dashboard aims to provide a “baseline” for tracking improvements made by STPs. But it also offers judgments: each STP is given a summary assessment of “overall progress,” ranging from a top rating of “outstanding” (category 1) to the lowest of “needs most improvement” (category 4). Five STPs were rated outstanding and another five were rated as poorest.

Unlike the ratings of individual NHS and social care providers’ performance by the regulator the Care Quality Commission, these new ratings are intended to reflect the …

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