Specialised services quality dashboards

NHS England  | April 2018  | Specialised services quality dashboards

NHS England have released Specialised Services Quality Dashboards (SSQD) dashboards, they are designed to provide assurance on the quality of care by collecting information about outcomes from healthcare providers.  These providers, include NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and independent providers that  submit data for each of the agreed measures.


The information provided by the SSQDs is used by NHS England specialised services commissioners to understand the quality and outcomes of services and reasons for excellent performance. Healthcare providers can use the information to provide an overview of service quality compared with other providers of the same service
Each SSQD is ‘refreshed’ with up-to-date outcomes submitted from national data sources, and where necessary healthcare providers, on a quarterly basis. (NHS England)

The SSQDs are  organised by their National Programme of Care (NPoC), the individual dashboards can be accessed here  


Planning, assuring and delivering service change for patients

NHS England  | April 2018  |Planning, assuring and delivering service change for patients

NHS England has published guidance for commissioners on substantial service change. This guidance has been designed to support commissioners and providers to consider how to take forward their proposals, including effective public involvement, enabling them to reach robust decisions on change in the best interests of their patients. It also  mentions some of the key considerations for commissioners and their partners in designing service change and in reconfiguration.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are under a statutory duty to have regard to this guidance. According to NHS England, by following this guidance, commissioners may reduce the risk of their service changes being referred to the Secretary of State, Independent Reconfiguration Panel or challenged by judicial review. By following the process set out below and appropriately and effectively involving local diverse communities, local authorities, key stakeholders and expert review (for example from Clinical Senates), later challenge may be avoided. (NHS England)

The full guidance can be downloaded from NHS England

Clinical commissioners response to the consultation on Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future

NHS Clinical Commissioners  | March 2018  | Response to draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027

NHS Clinical Commissioners has published its response to Health Education England (HEE)’s consultation on Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future – a draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027.  Following consultation with its members which included a survey and a member webinar and direct feedback. They report that commissioners greatest challenges when planning, developing and delivering place-based and person-centred across England are:

  • workforce shortages
  • future workforce availability,
  • resources to support staff development to work in the evolving system.
clin comm
Image source: nhscc.org

As a result they call on HEE to

  • highlight the defined role for strategic clinical leadership in the current commissioning structure in the new workforce strategy, with development support and succession planning provided nationally
  • focus efforts on areas which will be essential to the delivery of future services, to align priority with future need rather than current shortages.
  • increase the number of GPs and develop roles that can support reductions in primary care such as practice-based pharmacists, nurses, and paramedics.
  • recognise and develop the workforce strategy around the future system of health and care delivery envisioned in the Five Year Forward View

The full response is available from the NHS Clinical Commissioners website

Using research evidence to commission services

NIHR   | 2018  | How commissioners use research evidence

Six studies that received NIHR (National Institute of Health Research) funding over the last five years, demonstrate that commissioners and managers may be uncertain about how to apply and use research evidence in practice.

The NIHR has produced a highlight on its website to encourage health managers and commissioners to consider research evidence.  This recognises commissioners’ responsibilities to commission services based on the best available evidence as outlined in the Health  and Social Care Act of 2012. It also appreciates that health managers and service leaders will use a range of resources including data, contextual information, and that those commissioning services prefer consulting others and utilising local intelligence and information sources, research may only play a small part in decision-making.

For this reason the NIHR argues that researchers need to make their research as useful as possible to those making decisions, and provide some practical pointers within their research findings to make their work more relevant to commissioners and managers. The highlight is intended to show the applicability of research evidence to commissioners.  For example, it includes questions for commissioners to consider:

  • Do we pause when making strategic decisions to see if and how evidence could be used?
  • How can we best bring research together with other evidence (such as health needs or population data) to make decisions?
  • Who could help us inside or outside the organisation to make sense of research for particular important problems?
  • Can staff access training or expertise about understanding and using evidence? What library or information services can we use?
  • Do we share our learning, including unexpected results of service changes, with others?

The highlight on the NIHR include blogs on the following topic areas:

‘Researchers: To make an impact, write less and talk more!’

How do health care organisations use research evidence?

Evidence at a glance 

Related blog posts

NIHR Dissemination Evidence-based policy-making: the view from a commissioner

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Pathway for People with Long-term Physical Health Conditions and Medically Unexplained Symptoms  

NHS England & NHS Improvement  | March 2018  | The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Pathway for People with Long-term Physical Health Conditions and Medically Unexplained Symptoms

NHS England & NHS Improvement  have developed, The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Pathway for People with Long-term Physical Health Conditions and Medically Unexplained Symptoms. This guidance has been produced to support Clinical Commissioning Groups CCGs in expanding Improving Access to Psychological Therapies by commissioning (IAPT) services integrated into physical healthcare pathways.  To facilitate this expansion, it sets out the treatment pathway that that underpins the access and waiting time standards, which all services should seek to measure themselves against.

Image source: england.nhs.uk

From April 2018 all CCGs are expected to expand Improving Access to Psychological Therapies by commissioning (IAPT) services integrated into physical healthcare pathways (NHS England & NHS Improvement).

The guidance can be read at NHS England 

A call for action against sepsis

NHS RightCare has produced a call to action video with former National Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh to address sepsis. 

This video calls for all commissioners, clinicians and health economies in England to come together to address and reduce the variation found in the care of sepsis for all patients with the aim of improving outcomes and quality of life.

In spring 2018, NHS RightCare will publish a full scenario detailing a sub-optimal, but realistic, care pathway against an optimal pathway and the measures that can be applied to improve identification, treatment and outcomes.

Implementing the 2018/19 GP Contract: letter to commissioners

This letter from confirms the outcome of the 2018/19 General Medical Services (GMS) contract negotiations.


NHS England has published a letter to commissioners which signposts all the guidance that is, or will shortly be, available to support implementation of contract changes for 2018/19.

CCGs with delegated commissioning responsibilities should work to amend local primary medical care contracts and implement changes at the earliest possible opportunity, backdated in effect from 1 April 2018, including any agreed enhanced services.