Following allegations of seriously substandard care, the Secretary of State for Health in England announced, in June 2010, that a public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust would be undertaken, chaired by Robert Francis QC (a lawyer). The “Francis report”, issued in February 2013, contains 290 recommendations meant to apply across the NHS. This, in turn, has given rise to heated debates about quality in the NHS and how best to ensure it.
OHE’s 2013 Annual Lecture was given by Professor Alan Maynard of the University of York earlier this week, providing an economist’s view of the Francis report’s recommendations for increased regulation and further reorganisation of the NHS.
In his remarks, Prof Maynard discussed the problems associated with achieving quality in health care and raised concerns over proceeding with the recommendations of the Francis report without greater use of evidence. As an alternative, he recommended that government “regulate less and regulate better”.
Prof Maynard spoke of the need to improve transparency by collecting and analysing health outcome data. He explained that such an approach would enhance the professional sense of duty and trust, and also create incentives for clinicians to provide good quality care. In addition, he recommended that changes to the NHS take place incrementally–with substantial use of piloting and evaluation–as opposed to proceeding with further large-scale organisational reform.
Prof Maynard’s remarks will be published as part of the OHE’s Annual Lecture series.