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BUPA welcomes NHS treatment outcomes assessments

UK healthcare provider BUPA has welcomed news that the NHS will soon be required to routinely assess treatment outcomes.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, BUPA’s group medical director, said the move was a crucial step in helping to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.

From April, patients undergoing one of four procedures ­ – hip and knee replacements, groin hernia repair and varicose vein operations ­- will be asked to fill in a questionnaire before and after treatment.

The health service will then assess whether to extend the evaluation process to other treatments.

The routine collection of NHS patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) is expected to bring three main areas of benefit, Dr Vallance-Owen said:

  • Opportunities for continuous quality improvement and benchmarking across the public and private sector;
  • Additional scope for patient and GP choice through the provision of success-based data;
  • Improved information for health care commissioners and primary care trusts, which will help inform decisions about where to award contracts.

BUPA has been using an outcomes measurement programme for a number of years.

“BUPA was unique in setting up the UK’s first outcomes measurement programme,” Dr Vallance-Owen said.

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“After years of lobbying, it is very gratifying to see a move towards measuring healthcare productivity across the NHS.”

The announcement is expected to bring opportunities for the NHS and private sector to work in partnership to maximise return on investment in PROMs.

Dr Vallance-Owen said: “Through BUPA’s subsidiary company, Outcome Technologies, BUPA has a wealth of expertise and some five years’ experience in the collection, analysis and feedback of patient outcomes data.

“This announcement marks a tremendous step towards filling some of the gaps that exist in UK healthcare statistics.

“In the long term, further benefits would be gained from extending standard outcome measurement to cover more surgical procedures and chronic disease treatments. 

“It is also crucial that engagement is secured across the NHS and private providers.”