The Five Year Forward View set out an ambitious vision for the future of the NHS, which aims to deliver improved health, patient care and efficiency. Realising these goals will be dependent on major service change, particularly as Sustainability and Transformation Plans come into effect.

But before these changes can take place, the clinical evidence underpinning them has to be gathered, properly presented and ratified by a clinical senate. All aspects of the proposal, including clinical quality, finance, workforce, resilience and programme management, have to be present before it can proceed to the next stage.

Unfortunately, many organisations are requesting clinical reviews without sufficient preparation. Their proposals may fail to meet the requirements, leaving them subject to delay and challenge. Some fall at the first hurdle as they aren’t supported by a clear clinical evidence base, which is one of the four mandatory tests at the heart of the assurance process.

This leads to wasted time, effort and resource for all concerned and, could be depriving patients of the better quality integrated care these plans aim to deliver.

To address this issue, and ensure that organisations are able to develop sufficiently detailed and robust proposals, the West Midlands Clinical Senate and Midlands and Lancashire CSU’s Strategy Unit produced the Clinical Assurance Evidence Framework.

The work was commissioned by the West Midlands Clinical Senate with the aim of addressing common mistakes so that organisations can proceed to public consultation with confidence.

“As recent NHS England guidance on developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans has demonstrated, it’s vital to do this right from the outset to avoid delay and confusion.”

Dr David Hegarty Former Clinical Senate Chair and David Frith, Managing Consultant at the Strategy Unit

Dr David Hegarty Former Clinical Senate Chair and David Frith, Managing Consultant at the Strategy Unit, said: “The framework has been produced using a wealth of evidence, strategic expertise and stakeholder experience. It supports proposers of major service change to ensure that they build in the required evidence from the start, breaking the task down into manageable chunks. 

“Given the direction that the NHS is heading in, major service reconfiguration is going to become increasingly important and prevalent over the next few years. Our framework is free to use and can help you complete the clinical assurance process more quickly and thoroughly than before. “As recent NHS England guidance on developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans has demonstrated, it’s vital to do this right from the outset to avoid delay and confusion.”

An alternative version of the framework has also been produced, reflecting the pre-consultation business case structure and both are now available online to support future proposals.

As healthcare commissioners and providers work to create a modern NHS, capable of serving the complex needs of a growing population, delivering major service change will continue to be a high priority. The Clinical Assurance Evidence Framework can help. Get in touch with the West Midlands Clinical Senate england.wmcs@nhs.net or the Strategy Unit (strategy.unit@nhs.net) to find out more.

11.5.2016
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15.3.2017
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