HC Deb 24 February 1998 vol 307 c165W
32. Mr. McNulty

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what incentives he intends to introduce for health authorities, NHS trusts and primary care groups to improve performance and efficiency. [29346]

Mr. Milburn

The White Paper "The New NHS" outlines a range of incentives for improved performance and efficiency across the National Health Service, including:

  • the introduction of a new broader-based performance framework, with particular emphasis on benchmarking and on the sharing of good practice;
  • aligning clinical and financial responsibility in Primary Care Groups, and giving greater devolved budgetary responsibility to clinical teams in NHS trusts;
  • the development and publication of a national schedule of "reference costs" to provide a strong lever to tackle NHS trust inefficiency;
  • rewarding good performance through modest extra non-recurrent funding for health authorities that make most progress against agreed targets and objectives, allowing NHS trusts to use a share of any savings resulting from longer term service agreements and allowing Primary Care Groups to redeploy savings to meet local needs and promote local developments;
  • ensuring a drive for quality, including the introduction of a new system of clinical governance in NHS trusts and primary care, backed up by a new statutory duty for quality in NHS trusts.

The White Paper also sets out a range of clear sanctions for use where performance is not up to standard, including the scope for direct intervention by the NHS Executive to rectify poor performance in any part of the NHS.