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Maternity care to get “Ofsted-style” ratings

From next year “Ofsted-style” ratings will be used to assess the health service in each local area, the Department of Health (DH) announced today.

The new rating system will assess maternity care, mental health, and the care for: diabetes, cancer, dementia, and learning disabilities, using local data and verified by experts in each topic area.

For example, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar will verify cancer ratings and the government's Mental Health Taskforce chairman Paul Farmer will lead on mental health ratings.

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said: “By being more transparent than ever before about crucial services... we really can make NHS patients the most powerful in the world.”

The aim behind this is to create greater transparency by giving patients access to performance data, and make local healthcare services “much more accountable to their local population than previously,” the DH said in a release.

However, Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs responded: “We question whether the introduction of Ofsted-style ratings systems for area health teams will improve patient care whilst there is no evidence that this does improve outcomes in a health setting.”