The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) is annually accountable to the Lower House of Parliament for the policy it has pursued. That is done with the help of the VWS-Monitor, among other things. The Ministry would like to improve the content of the Monitor after the Lower House indicated that it would like to have more insight into the effects of VWS policy and whether adjustment is needed. In this report recommendations for further improvement are provided.
In the current VWS-Monitor, four public values (accessibility, quality, affordability and involved society) are linked to social objectives. Examples of social objectives are optimal freedom of choice for type of childbirth and curbing rising healthcare costs. These objectives can be measured by linking them to indicators that specify what is needed to achieve these objectives goals. For example, there are indicators that provide insight into developments in major cost items, such as long-term care.
In addition to current social objectives, it is recommended to include specific goals with a more direct link to existing policy. That way, the Monitor would improve its accountability function to the Lower House.
In addition, it is recommended to systematically address the continued development of the Monitor, for example, by having all aspects of the public value clearly reflected in the social objectives. Accessibility as a public value would include financial accessibility, geographical accessibility and timeliness. Another recommendation is to add a description of how the Ministry decided to include certain social objectives and indicators in the Monitor. This information would provide insight into the considerations that were made and make it possible to weigh the information better. This would ensure that choices are not perceived as arbitrary.
Furthermore, it is important to be able to interpret the figures yielded by the indicators. This can be done by comparing the figures internationally, with a standard, or by showing the evolution of the figures of the indicators over time.
The advice was prepared by the Consortium of the State of Public Health and Health Care (consisting of: the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), the National Health Care Institute (ZIN), the Trimbos Institute, the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) and the Netherlands Youth Institute (NJi)). The Consortium was asked to provide this advice because it has developed a website named the State of Public Health and Health Care, that is specifically aimed at supporting policy with figures.