Call for creation of 'office for patient outcomes' to monitor NHS services


Patients need better access to information on how well NHS services are performing, a think tank has said.

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) has called on ministers to consider the introduction of an independent body responsible for publishing data on patient outcomes.

A new report from the think tank says that key information is spread over a number of reports from various different bodies.

Patients are "disengaged" and not accessing the information because there is an "extremely low awareness" that the data exists, the report states.

It says there are "information gaps" and a "limited role for patient voice in deciding what is reported".

The SMF has called for a new body which would act in a similar way to the Office for Budget Responsibility, which has provided greater transparency around public finances.

An office for patient outcomes (OPO) would improve information and accountability, it said.

"The Government keeps talking about ensuring patient voices are heard in the NHS, but right now patients lack access to information to help them make their voices heard and drive further improvements," said SMF director and author of the report, Emran Mian.

"The model used for the Office for Budget Responsibility could point the way to how similar issues on the provision of information, which used to exist in the public finances, could now be tackled in the health and care system."

"An office for patient outcomes could substantially improve information and accountability."

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has been calling for such an organisation.

Commenting on the report, Lisa Anson, country president of AstraZeneca UK & Ireland, said: "As the SMF paper highlights there is currently a lack of transparency around patient outcomes data.

"Providing a central source for that data would help shine a light on where improvements are needed and increase the accountability of the NHS to policymakers, the media and most importantly patients."