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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the measures of cost efficiency developed by his Department as part of the performance assessment system.
The performance indicators were published in July 2000 on the Department's website: www.doh.gov.uk/nhsperformanceindicators. This includes a number of efficiency indicators:
day case rate; average length of stay; maternity unit costs; mental health unit costs; and percentage of prescribing on generic drugs.
Since the indicators were published, the Department has carried out a wide ranging consultation exercise with a view to improving the quality and range of the indicators. An updated set of indicators is now being developed for publication before the end of the year.
In addition, a new public service agreement target for value for money was agreed as part of spending review 2000:
The cost of care commissioned from trusts which perform well against indicators of fair access, quality and responsiveness, will become the benchmark for the NHS. Everyone will be expected to reach the level of the best over the next five years, with agreed milestones for 2003–04.
The aim of this new target is to ensure that cost-savings are not at the expense of service quality. The year 2001–02 is the first year covered by this new public service agreement target. We will be monitoring progress against this new target as data become available.