The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) is to be given independent powers similar to those of education watchdog Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
In the National Health Service (NHS) Reform Bill, the CHI has taken over the authority to assess and publish star ratings for NHS organisations, including hospitals. The controversial star ratings, which are being assessed by the NHS, give higher-scoring hospitals more independence in how they spend extra funds from the Department of Health.
The commission will also publish an annual report on the performance of the NHS, which will be presented to parliament. Following the report, the CHI will be able to criticise NHS policy and designate failing health services as in need of “special measures”.
Previously, the CHI was an arm of the Department of Health and answerable to the health secretary.