Quality in the new health system – maintaining and improving quality from April 2013

The National Quality Board (NQB) has published its final report setting out how quality will be maintained and improved in the new health system.

The NQB brings together the national organisations across the health system responsible for quality including the Care Quality Commission, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, NICE, the General Medial Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the NHS Commissioning Board, Public Health England and the Department of Health.

This report focuses predominantly on how the new system should prevent, identify and respond to serious failures in quality and provides a collective statement from NQB members as to:

  1. the nature and place of quality in the new health system;
  2. the distinct roles and responsibilities for quality of the different parts of the system;
  3. how the different parts of the system should work together to share information and intelligence on quality and to ensure an aligned and coordinated system wide response in the event of a quality failure; and
  4. the values and behaviours that all parts of the system will need to display in order to put the interests of patients and the public first and ahead of organisational interests.

The report has been finalised following its publication in draft form in August 2012.  The NQB is grateful for comments and views they received its draft report, and has taken these into account, alongside developments in the system, in finalising its report.

How to establish a Quality Surveillance Group

The NQB is also publishing accompanying guidance to the system on establishing Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs).  A network of QSGs is being established across the country to bring together different parts of health and care economies locally and in each region in England to routinely share information and intelligence to protect the quality of care patients receive.

QSGs will be established between now and March 2013, ready to go live in the new system from April 2013.  The NQB guidance includes an assurance process, which will be rolled out between January and March 2013, to ensure that the network of QSGs is ready to go live from April.

QSGs should not add another level of bureaucracy but instead provide a forum for local partners to realise the cultures and values of open and honest cooperation which should be in place already.  They should seek to reduce the burden of performance management and regulation on providers of services, by ensuring that supervisory, commissioning and regulatory bodies work in a more coordinated way.

QSGs will be supported and facilitated by the NHS Commissioning Board’s 27 Area and four Regional Teams.  This guidance provides advice and support to health economies in establishing their QSGs, and has been informed by a series of pilots in the Midlands and East Region.  The National Quality Board would like to thank that region, and the areas of Hertfordshire and South Midlands, and Essex for agreeing to take part in these pilots, which have provided valuable insight.

The NQB is conscious that the forthcoming final report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry may have a bearing on their report and the model of Quality Surveillance Groups.  The NQB will consider any relevant findings and recommendations from the Public Inquiry, and update these documents as is necessary in due course.

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One comment

  1. Clive Spindley says:

    I am in the process of sending the NHS CB an email direct.