The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, spoke at the King’s Fund annual conference today. By all accounts it was impassioned and well-received. There then followed what sounded like a lively panel discussion about patient experience (see their twitter feed).
Hunt’s announcement of a review into the idea of establishing an ‘Ofsted’ rating system for hospitals has captured the headlines – Ofsted is the body that is responsible for overseeing inspection of our schools. The media coverage concentrates on the key points but here is the link to the Department of Health news release which gives a lot more detail on how the review will be conducted. He also talked about the ‘Friends and Family Test’ that will be brought into being next year. The panel seemed divided on the merits of the latter although all agreed that the business of capturing patient experience and feedback is only worthwhile if used to inform change.
Capturing and measuring the patient experience in health research is something that needs urgent consideration; in its own right but also as part of these wider initiatives. So far we have only really seen the National Cancer Patient Experience (NCPE) focus on this question. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) does not cover it in the National Patient Survey and once these things are up and running it is quite difficult to have them changed to reflect changing priorities – or that’s my impression anyway.
I wonder whether the health Ofsted will be called Hospbed?