Fines for NHS hospitals if they fail to meet highest standards
Cash fines will be imposed on hospitals should they fail to provide the best care to their patients according to proposals unveiled by the esteemed Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.
Professor Keogh, who on Monday becomes the national medical director of the NHS commissioning board, announced that the new GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) would soon take control of over £65billion of health spending. As a result, the CCGs will have the power to hold back part of the fees operations if they believe a patient has not been treated to the highest possible standards.
The aim of these penalties is to compel hospitals to provide high-quality care. Moreover, this would force units that do not embrace the latest medical thinking and guidance on how to manage particular conditions, such as strokes or heart attacks, and fail to meet quality control standards to forfeit part of the payment for operations from the CCGs.
Explaining the proposal, Professor Keogh stated, “the idea for commissioning quality and innovation is to withhold a little bit of money. It’s not a penalty, but it’s an incentive to make sure that people reach a set of standards.”
However, the NHS confederation has voiced its concerns over the proposals, stating that it would rather see high performing hospitals receive a bonus than penalties against weaker performing ones.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of NHS Confederation, remarked, “CCGs need to use levers, but the downside of penalties is that if hospitals don’t reach the standards set, then they don’t get the rest of the tariff fee and the risk is of a download spiral in which they have less resources next year in which to try and meet the standards.”