NHS foundation trust quality reports: 2019/20 requirements

Details of contents and assurance requirements for NHS foundation trusts preparing their 2019/20 quality reports.

Update 23 March 2020: please see Quality accounts requirements 2019/20 for update on quality accounts preparation.

In light of expected amendments to quality accounts arrangements, NHS foundation trusts are no longer required to include a quality report in their annual report for 2019/20. The FT ARM will be updated in due course. NHS foundation trusts are encouraged to include the additional quality report content in their quality account when prepared.

Assurance work on quality accounts and quality reports should cease, and no limited assurance opinions are expected to be issued in 2019/20. Where auditors have completed interim work or early testing on indicators, auditors should consider whether value can be derived from work already completed, such as a narrative report being provided to the trust, or governors at a NHS foundation trust. For NHS foundation trusts, there is no formal requirement for a limited assurance opinion or governors’ report.

The documents below have not been updated.

NHS foundation trusts must include a report on the quality of care they provide in their annual report to improve public accountability.

These documents are only mandatory for NHS foundation trusts. NHS trusts prepare a quality account but not a quality report, however the documents contain guidance for NHS trusts who may choose to adopt the principles applied by NHS foundation trusts.

The requirements for quality accounts are published in a separate letter.

April 2019 updates to guidance

Application of breach allocation guidance to reporting against 62 day cancer indicator in quality reports 2018/19

Updated guidance was issued in 2016 how to deal with cancer waiting time breaches where a patient transfers between trusts, but there have been delays in implementing this in national reporting systems. Up to the end of March 2019, official performance statistics will continue to be based on the 50:50 allocation rules which have been in place for several years. From April 2019 official performance will be based on the revised rules, based on determining responsibility at day 38.  While the original guidance encouraged providers to develop their own systems for breach allocation information, there has been a consistent approach in national reporting.

Therefore we expect that the data used in preparing the cancer waiting time indicator(s) in the 2018/19 quality reports will be based, by default, on the long-standing arrangements for 50:50 breach allocation. In 2018/19 we do not expect auditors to raise concerns where reporting does not reflect the updated breach allocation guidance. However if a Trust has put its own processes in place locally to implement the new guidance consistently in 2018/19 and wishes to report on this basis this is also acceptable. If this is the case it  must be clearly stated alongside presentation of the indicator in the quality report, and the auditor can perform assurance work on the indicator on this basis.