Search Legislation

Health Act 2009

Chapter 2 – Quality Accounts
Section 8: Duty of providers to publish information

101.Subsection (1) provides that NHS providers in public ownership (listed in subsection (2)) must publish prescribed information in respect of each reporting period, covering the NHS services they provide or procure. The intention is to ensure that providers of NHS services produce regular reports on the quality of the services they provide, and that these reports are publicly available. The definition of “reporting period” in section 9(2) means that NHS providers will have to publish that information for the period 1 April to 31 March each year. Regulations will set out the content of a Quality Account.

102.Subsection (2) lists those NHS providers in public ownership. These are PCTs, NHS trusts, Special Health Authorities and NHS foundation trusts

103.The effect of subsection (3) is that bodies or other persons not in NHS ownership who provide, or make arrangements for the provision of, NHS services must also publish prescribed information. It defines these persons by referring back to section 2(4) and (5). Those subsections set out different providers of NHS services, including providers of primary medical and other primary healthcare services, by reference to the type of service they provide, and the legislation under which these services are provided.

104.Subsection (4) ensures that healthcare providers report on their part of any jointly provided healthcare. The intention is to ensure that each provider should publish their own Quality Account for the services for which they are responsible under any joint arrangement.

105.Subsection (5) gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations to exempt providers from the requirement to publish a Quality Account. The intention is to ensure that certain NHS providers, or types of NHS provider, can be exempted if necessary from the requirement to publish a Quality Account. This will be either on a temporary basis to allow certain types of provider, particularly those who are smaller or who are new to providing services for the NHS, to gear themselves up for publication; or on a more permanent basis, in cases where the provider carries out too few NHS services to make it reasonable to require that provider to publish an Account. This subsection also gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations to exempt certain services from appearing in a Quality Account. The intention of this subsection is to exempt certain services if it would not be practicable to include them, for example if the volumes of a particular service are too small to allow users of the Account to draw conclusions about the quality of services offered.

106.Subsection (6) defines NHS services by reference back to section 2(7), which defines these services as being those which are provided in England for the purposes of the health service continued by section 1(1) of the NHS Act.

Section 9: Supplementary provision about the duty

107.Subsection (2) defines the reporting period for the purposes of section 9. The first reporting period for Quality Accounts will be 1st April 2009 – 31st March 2010, and subsequent reporting periods will run from 1st April – 31st March each year.

108.Subsection (3) provides that a provider must republish their Quality Account if they are notified of an error or omission by either the Care Quality Commission or a Strategic Health Authority. Providers must republish the revised Account within 21 days. Guidance will set out how this provision should be applied.

109.Subsection (4) requires a provider to send a copy of their Quality Account to the Secretary of State. The Department of Health intends to publish provider Quality Accounts on the NHS Choices website, which is owned by the Department, but not to check or edit the Account.

110.The Act sets out a very basic requirement for the publication of Quality Accounts, and the Government intends to supplement that with subsequent guidelines, which providers will need to have regard to when drawing up their Quality Accounts. Regulations and guidance will have the key objectives of making use of information that providers already collect, of tying that into other NHS reporting cycles, and of keeping burdens on providers down to a minimum.

111.Subsection (5) sets out some of the matters about which provision may be made in regulations made under section 8(1) or (3). These matters include the form and content of a Quality Account and the date on which it must be published, duties of the provider to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Quality Account, and requirements for the provider to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The intention is to ensure that the content and timetable for publication can be changed easily and speedily in the future to reflect changing national and local healthcare quality priorities, as well as to ensure that providers take responsibility for the reliability of the content of their Quality Account.

112.Subsection (6) provides that any person can ask the provider to supply a copy of their Quality Account for the current and the preceding two years. All provider Quality Accounts will be available on the NHS Choices website, but the purpose of this subsection is to ensure that providers are required to supply a hard copy of their Quality Account to anyone who requests one.

113.Subsection (7) requires providers to display a notice in their premises informing patients that the latest copy of their Quality Account is available and how a copy can be obtained.

114.Subsection (8) sets out that premises that the provider does not own or run (e.g. the patient’s own home) or that the provider owns or runs but that patients do not directly access (e.g. a pathology laboratory) are excluded from this requirement.

115.Subsection (9) defines “premises” for the purposes of subsection (8).

Section 10: Regulations under section 8

116.Section 10 makes provision about the procedure for making regulations under section 8. These will be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources