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NHS outcomes framework

The first NHS outcomes framework 2011-2012 was published alongside outcomes frameworks for adult social care and public health.

The purpose of the NHS outcomes framework was to:

  • provide an overview of how the NHS was performing nationally and, where possible, internationally
  • provide an accountability link between the secretary of state and the NHS Commissioning Board
  • be a mechanism by which quality could be improved
  • provide a mechanism for measuring outcomes.

The development of this framework was underpinned by the need to reduce health inequalities and to promote equality in health outcomes. The framework would be updated annually with a complete review every 5 years.

The framework set out five domains:

  • preventing people from dying prematurely
  • enhancing quality of life for those living with long-term conditions
  • helping people to recover from episodes of illness or injury
  • ensuring people have positive experiences of their care
  • treating people in safe environments and protecting them from avoidable harm.

Each domain contained overarching indicators, development areas and NICE quality standards.

In advance of the framework's publication, in a letter to NHS chief executives on 15 December 2010, NHS Chief executive Sir David Nicholson wrote that the Outcomes Framework represented 'a really significant development in shifting the way we think about and measure success in the NHS'.


Department of Health.
The NHS outcomes framework 2011-2012.
Department of Health; 2010.

Nicholson D.
Equity and excellence; liberating the NHS - managing the transition and the 2011/12 operating framework.
Department of Health; 2010.