It is essential that the NHS reforms deliver a fair playing field between providers based on quality, driven by transparency in data and outcomes from the services they deliver, thereby allowing commissioners and patients to carry out effective choice. Such benchmarking of performance between providers should raise care standards across the board for patients.
The ambitions and principles of the reforms present opportunities to improve the quality and value of mental health care. Undoubtedly the implementation of the reforms, at a time of cost pressures, will be challenging. For the reforms to be effective commissioners will need better information and providers will need to improve transparency.
The current situation is very opaque and can lead to situations where commissioners aren't able to distinguish between the quality of provision between providers and thus commission from the cheapest.
The Priory Group is calling for providers to publicly publish their quality data, something which the Priory Group already does. The data should incorporate information on performance to allow quality to drive commissioning decisions.
In an era of no new money, more transparency over care and performance is a relatively cheap and effective way of driving up care standards which should not be overlooked.