National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Public asked for their views on Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF)

Anyone with an interest in health is invited to have their say on potential indicators for the proposed Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF), which will be used to improve the quality of commissioned health services and drive up standards of patient care across England.

There are 120 indicators out for consultation for the 2013/14 COF, covering a broad range of topics including mental health, cancer and asthma.

The COF is being developed as part of the Government's plans to reform the NHS. Under the plans, Clinical Commissioning Groups will take over responsibility for commissioning the majority of NHS services in England subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.

All GP practices in England will be required to join one of the Clinical Commissioning Groups, which will begin to assume their new statutory responsibilities from 2013/14.

The COF will allow the NHS Commissioning Board to measure the quality and outcomes of healthcare commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups and their contribution to achieving the outcomes set out in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

It will also provide information on quality to patients and the public and enable the Clinical Commissioning Groups to benchmark their performance and identify priorities for improvement.

NICE's role is to support the NHS Commissioning Board by developing recommendations for robust indicators.

The potential indicators in this consultation have been developed from three different sources: indicators derived directly from the NHS Outcomes Framework; indicators developed by NICE based on NICE Quality Standards; indicators from other sources to support the outcomes in the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Alongside the public consultation, the indicators are subject to further refinement and testing in conjunction with the NHS Information Centre.

The results of this process will then be presented to the NICE COF Advisory Committee in May 2012, and the Committee will recommend a set of indicators for consideration by the NHS Commissioning Board and publication on the NICE website. The NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for deciding the final set of indicators in the autumn.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said:“We are delighted to be responsible for developing indicators for the proposed Commissioning Outcomes Framework. Our experience and expertise will ensure that we provide the NHS Commissioning Board with a suite of indicators based on the best available evidence.

“This public consultation on potential new indicators is an integral part of NICE's process for COF and demonstrates our commitment to being open and transparent in all areas of the work we do.

“It provides the opportunity for anyone to contribute to the development of indicators for the 2013/14 Commissioning Outcomes Framework. We strongly encourage individuals and stakeholders to take part and help shape the future of this new programme.”