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New quality measures for NHS

1st July 2010

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has unveiled a raft of new quality measures to be published in the coming years to help the NHS in England improve care.

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It comes amid the drive by the coalition government to scrap targets within the NHS.

Mr Lansley unveiled the standards for three areas - stroke, dementia and blood clots – in a move that follows last week’s announcement that Labour’s targets on waiting times would go.

The requirement for GPs to see patients within 48 hours has been scrapped and the four-hour A&E waiting target relaxed ahead of being phased out next year.

Mr Lansley said he is looking for the NHS to measure itself against quality standards covering 150 different areas of care, which will be published over the next five years.

He said the standards would help the NHS provide high quality treatment but denied he was imposing mini targets.

"These are standards not diktats. It is not politicians establishing these", he said.

The measures are being portrayed as advice to the health service and there will be no requirement for hospitals to report to the government to demonstrate they have met them.

The measures for stroke, dementia and blood clots include ensuring patients with a possible diagnosis of stroke being transferred to a specialist unit within one hour and access to rehab care within 72 hours of discharge.

The British Medical Association has backed the move and acknowledged that the measures were not politically driven and that they were backed by evidence.

 

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