Strategic clinical networks

The NHS Commissioning Board Authority has set out its plan for a small number of national networks to improve health services for specific patient groups or conditions.

Called strategic clinical networks, these organisations will build on the success of network activity in the NHS which, over the last 10 years, has led to significant improvements in the delivery of patient care.

Strategic clinical networks, hosted and funded by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB), will cover conditions or patient groups where improvements can be made through an integrated, whole system approach. These networks will help local commissioners of NHS care to reduce unwarranted variation in services and encourage innovation.

The conditions or patient groups chosen for the first strategic clinical networks are:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease (including cardiac, stroke, diabetes and renal disease)
  • Maternity and children’s services
  • Mental health, dementia and neurological conditions

These networks will exist for up to five years and will be managed by 12 locally based support teams. These teams will build and oversee effective network arrangements for their area and help networks develop an annual programme of quality improvement in local services. The support teams, funded by the NHS CB, will be located in a local area team office.

Full details of strategic clinical networks can be read in The Way Forward – Strategic clinical networks published by the Board Authority and the supporting document The Way Forward – Frequently Asked Questions.

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