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Improving health and care: the role of the outcomes frameworks

The Department’s overarching aim is to enable people to live better for longer, which will be achieved by improving the health and care outcomes that matter to people. Across health and care, these outcomes are wide ranging. They include for example, protecting people from major incidents and threats, ensuring people have a positive experience of care and support, and increasing life expectancy.

The government has sought to focus the health and care system on improving outcomes, rather than focus solely on process measures. This will ensure that clinicians and carers are liberated to provide the best care that meets the needs of individuals. This has recently been put on an even stronger footing with the publication of the government’s first mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board.1 Through the mandate, the government is asking the Board to focus on improving outcomes for the NHS.
Improved outcomes across the whole of the health and care system can only be achieved when all parts of the system work together. This document, ‘Improving Health and Care: the role of outcomes frameworks’, supports that joint working by setting out how the outcomes frameworks will help to improve transparency and accountability, support implementation at all levels of the system, and become more closely aligned to improve what matters to people.

Each part of the system has its own outcomes framework, reflecting the different priorities and accountability mechanisms. However, for the first time, we are refreshing all three outcomes frameworks at the same time. These refreshed outcomes frameworks place a greater emphasis on the use of shared and complementary indicators, highlighting shared responsibilities and goals, and facilitating joint working.

A clear focus on outcome measures, with regular publication of local level data, supports improvements in the quality of care through increased transparency and more effective accountability, both locally and nationally. The outcomes frameworks offer a way of measuring progress towards achieving our aims.