“Having comparative data on the quality of services is an essential part of improving care. Data that are owned by clinicians and accessible to the public can drive up standards in care. This will happen where three things are in place. Firstly data that allows reasonable comparisons about organisations and individuals.
“Secondly, a process by which the use of the data are explained, including their power and the caveats that surround them. This is essential for patients, carers, commentators and regulators. This allows insight around accuracy and context. Thirdly, that the response to the data are proportionate and appropriate, with a culture that supports continuous improvement with a view towards excellence. This culture needs to be embedded from national bodies to the front line.
“By itself, data can sometimes be meaningless and confusing. Reporting of comparative data can be blame laden and punitive in nature. We must change these and recognise that this may be a long journey. These first steps are important – and it will be instructive to see how the data are used. We remain happy to be involved in working through the next steps, including the proposed consultation for the NHS Constitution.”