Indicators of quality of care in general practices in England

An independent review for the Secretary of State for Health

October 2015

Anna Howells
Abraham Mandel
Felix Gille

Key recommendations

The review makes a series of recommendations to government, including:

  • developing a small set of indicators that show information about what matters most to the public, health care professionals and those accountable for the quality of general practice
  • consolidating the multiple existing websites currently sharing information about general practice quality, with information selected and presented to meet the differing needs of health care professionals and the public
  • developing a national strategy for improving the quality of general practice and primary care that guides indicator development, with progress assessed through the Secretary of State’s annual report
  • providing support to those working in general practice about how to understand and use information to improve patient care.

In the summer of 2015 the Health Foundation was asked by the Secretary of State for Health to review indicators of the quality of care provided by general practices in England. We looked at how indicators could be developed to generate meaningful information that supports improvements to care and helps the public choose which practice might best meet their needs.

Within the short timeframe available for the review (June to September 2015), the Foundation consulted with a wide range of organisations and individuals with an interest in how information about general practice care quality is collated and published. We assessed the literature, analysed indicators currently used as well as the websites on which they are published, and worked with insight agency BritainThinks to understand the public’s views.

Our review focused on publication of indicators for the purposes of supporting local improvement of care, patient choice and voice, and the accountability and performance management of general practices.

    The review also strongly advises against making a composite score out of selected indicators to indicate the quality of care overall in general practice, or for particular population groups.

    Additional resources

    As part of our review we commissioned insight agency BritainThinks to conduct research with the public to:

    • explore if and how the general public use existing data to choose their general practice
    • explore whether there is unmet demand for additional or different data
    • explore whether the general public would want and/or use specific prompted forms of additional or different data
    • explore preferences for accessing the data (and attitudes to websites currently showing information about different practices).

    Download the BritainThinks research

    Further reading


    Painting a credible picture of general practice care quality?

    Today the Health Foundation has published its independent review into indicators of the quality of care provided by general p...

    You might also like...

    Press release

    Offer £5,200 grants to nursing students and ramp up overseas recruitment to stop NHS workforce crisis

    A radical expansion of nurse training, with cost of living grants of £5,200 a year and a tripling in the number of people tra...

    Research report

    Closing the gap

    The report follows the three organisations’ analysis last year assessing the scale of the problem, which warned that staffing...

    Working paper

    Labour market change and the international mobility of health workers

    This working paper explores the migration and mobility of health workers. It summarises the international health care labour ...

    Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

    Work with us

    We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

    View current vacancies
    Artboard 101 copy 2

    The Q Community

    Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

    Find out more