The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) has been launched by the prime minister to promote good practice in the NHS and ensure high quality of care.
CHI will act as a standards watchdog and has a number of functions. It will monitor the quality of care and make sure that patient complaints are adequately dealt with. It will review the priority areas of cancer, coronary heart disease and mental health while ensuring health technologies and drugs being used comply with national guidelines. Additionally, it will require consultants to participate in outside audits of their work, including the outcome of treatments and operations.
Accompanying the prime minister at the launch of CHI was health secretary Alan Milburn who said that the “commission will have a key role in modernising the NHS. I am determined that patients have services that are fast, convenient and of the highest possible quality. For the first time in over 50 years, the NHS will be subject to external scrutiny.”
He added: “The commission signifies our refusal to tolerate second best anywhere in the NHS. Patients, wherever they receive treatment and care, have the right to first class services. The commission will put the needs of patients centre stage. It is radical and it is right.”
CHI will cover England and Wales and will be composed of multi-disciplinary teams including nurses, doctors and health professionals, all of whom will be carrying out reviews.