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Labour Government would introduce NHS league tables

Labour Government would introduce NHS league tables
By Jess Hacker
16 November 2023

A Labour Government would introduce league tables to rank NHS trusts, the party’s shadow health secretary has announced.

Speaking at the NHS Providers conference (15 November), Wes Streeting said the health service needs ‘greater transparency so we can see what is working and who to learn from’.

The proposed league tables would support underperforming providers to set their course straight and encourage those at the top to innovate, he claimed.

Leaders have welcomed the statement, however some will fear the prospect of being ranked, others have warned.

The NHS Confederation’s chief executive, Matthew Taylor, said that the NHS should make better use of its performance data to make ‘more meaningful comparisons’ between providers.

But introducing league tables could ‘strip out important underlying context and come across as a naming and shaming exercise’.

He said: ‘It was only a year ago that the current Government introduced league tables of general practices supposedly to help patients make more informed choices, which were based on a crude presentation of the number of appointments delivered and did not account for very important differences in local patient characteristics or other services delivered by primary care.’

Responding to Mr Streeting’s speech, NHS Provider’s chief executive Sir Julian Hartley welcomed the support for trusts that need it.

He said: ‘Fostering first-rate leadership across the service is also vital to ensuring a robust NHS that delivers the best care for patients.

‘Performance and productivity are influenced by many factors including capital investment, workforce and overall system effectiveness. A comprehensive understanding of these elements is crucial in evaluating and improving NHS performance.’

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