A new survey of NHS staff is determining their views on the validity and usefulness of new measures of quality to be introduced across the NHS.

The quality measures follow on from Health Minister Lord Darzi’s NHS review High-Quality Healthcare For All, which wants local staff engaged in developing new indicators designed to measure quality at local, regional and national levels.

The Darzi Review also means that in England, every strategic health authority – the regional, intermediate tier of the NHS’s management – will set up a new quality observatory to measure standards.

Health Minister Professor Lord Darzi said, “we can only improve the quality of care we give to patients if we constantly and methodically measure it. Developing a set of quality indicators in partnership with frontline staff will allow clinicians to measure their team's performance in a constant strive to improve and compare it with their peers across the NHS. These indicators will soon become a resource to challenge and stimulate NHS staff to drive up standards in healthcare.

"I want NHS staff to work together to develop useful and meaningful measures of their work. This will help improve the entire patient experience by delivering safer and more effective care."

NICE Evidence advisory committee
Meanwhile, the membership of an independent advisory standing committee has been announced for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)’s new service, NHS Evidence, which will create a unified evidence base for use both by professionals deciding on treatment and to provide information on treatments to the general pubhlic.

NICE’s remit and workload expands significantly with both the creation of NHS Evidence and with the work announced following cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards’ recent ‘top-ups’ review, which gave the Institute extra works in accelerating appraisal of new technologies and in re-establishing the cost-effectiveness threshold for expensive end-of-life drugs.

The role of the NHS Evidence Advisory Committee will be to receive, consider and review information on sources of evidence for use by the NHS and other external communities. This process will help to ensure NHS staff have access to authoritative clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice and information about high quality care for patients.

The committee will achieve this by setting a framework for accrediting providers of evidence so that they are recognised as being trusted sources of information for the NHS and advising on which individual pieces of information, such as guidance documents, should be identified as the standard for best practice in the NHS.