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I want transparency to replace targets, Hunt says


24 June 2015

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Targets will be replaced by 'intelligent transparency', Hunt said today at a conference in London.

He said that intelligent transparency is "at the heart of the changing culture we want" and that the main engine for improving quality in the NHS should be learning and peer review.

Targets will be replaced by 'intelligent transparency', Hunt said today at a conference in London.

He said that intelligent transparency is "at the heart of the changing culture we want" and that the main engine for improving quality in the NHS should be learning and peer review.

"I want intelligent transparency to replace targets and top-down initiatives as the way that we improve the service that we offer to patients, and I think we can do that if we learn from the database published and we make it the engine of improvement and I think this also goes right the way through to the front line.

"I think we need to rediscover true clinical accountability, where as a GP you feel you're not just a gatekeeper or a signpost. You're actually accountable for delivering the care your patients are receiving, and that means a model where we empower GPs to have much more control over the services that are delivered both inside hospitals and outside hospitals," he said.

"The academy of medical royal colleges are doing a piece of work right now on what clinical accountability means in an out-of-hospital setting. I hope that will be the heart of a new relationship and a rebuilding of that trust between doctor and patient which I think it has been made very difficult by the structures, for example the current GP contract, which sometimes feel more like peace work than a truly strong relationship between doctor and patient," he said.

He chose to use the term intelligent transparency as he said that sometimes transparency can mean "dumping a lot of data out in the public domain and seeing what happens."

Hunt defined intelligent transparency as actually answering the questions the public want to know. He also spoke about the traffic light system of rating clinical commissioners, which was announced earlier this month.

He said: "We asked the King's Fund to help us develop metrics which will tell us for the first time how good the mental health provision is everywhere in the country… and that I think will allow the kind of peer review which has helped to drive up standards in hospitals through the new CQC inspection regime."

The second part of intelligent transparency is "empowering patients to use that transparency" and part of that is having a better debate about the use of data and creating an electronic healthcare records for patients that is shared across the entire system.

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