National Quality Board

The National Quality Board (NQB) was formed in 2009 to champion the quality agenda, secure system alignment and drive quality improvement across the health care, social care and public health system. The NQB’s current core priorities include supporting system transformation and the integration of care and outcomes, understanding and addressing unwarranted variation and inequalities, and supporting learning and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NQB has just updated its Shared Commitment to Quality and published a Position Statement to support Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) in embedding quality in their design, planning and decision-making. Links to the documents are provided below.

Lord Ara Darzi“I fully endorse the NQB’s Refreshed Shared Commitment to Quality and Position Statement for Integrated Care Systems (ICSs). The establishment of ICSs represents an important step in the journey of improvement across health and care, at the heart of which must sit quality. These documents align with High Quality Care for All in emphasising the important balance that must be struck between having flexibility in responding to the needs of local communities, with consistent standards of quality for people using services. They also champion a collaborative and proactive approach to quality which recognises the importance of creating cultures of open learning and improvement, and working together across health, social care, housing, employment and wider services to ensure high-quality care.”


The NQB’s membership is composed of senior clinical and professional leaders from across health care, social care and public health, alongside two patient and public representatives.

Agendas, minutes and papers


NQB Position Statement on Quality in Integrated Care Systems

The NQB has issued a Position Statement for those working in health and care systems.  Endorsed by Lord Darzi, the Position Statement emphasises the importance of prioritising the delivery of high-quality care at this crucial time of transition and sets out some core principles and consistent operational requirements for quality oversight in systems.

Shared Commitment to Quality

The NQB has refreshed its Shared Commitment to Quality to support those working in health and care systems.  The publication provides a nationally-agreed definition of quality and a vision for how quality can be effectively delivered through ICSs.  The refresh has been developed in collaboration with systems and people with lived experience and has a stronger focus on population health and health inequalities.

Case Studies on Quality Oversight in ICSs

Three case studies have been developed to accompany the Shared Commitment, illustrating how leading systems have already started to embed the Shared Commitment in their planning and decision-making.  The three case studies are: Surrey Heartlands ICS, Dorset ICS and West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts.

Quality Surveillance Groups – National Guidance, Third edition, July 2017

Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs) bring together different parts of the health and care system, to share intelligence about risks to quality. The NQB’s Shared Commitment to Quality sets out seven steps to maintain and improve quality. QSGs are an important element of step 5 – maintaining and safeguarding quality. This document provides practical advice and guidance about how to run an effective QSG.

Risk Summits – National Guidance, Third edition, July 2017

Risk Summits provide a mechanism to bring the health and care system together very quickly when a serious, specific concern about the quality of care has been raised. Like Quality Surveillance Groups (see above), they are an important tool within the wider quality framework set out in the NQB’s Shared Commitment to Quality. They should only be called very occasionally. This document provides practical advice and guidance about how to run an effective Risk Summit.

National guidance on learning from deaths

Following the recent findings of the Care Quality Commission report Learning, candour and accountability: A review of the way NHS trusts review and investigate the deaths of patients in England, the National Quality Board (NQB) has published the first edition of National Guidance on Learning from Deaths for Trusts.

The purpose of the guidance is to help standardise and improve the way acute, mental health and community Trusts identify, report, review, investigate and learn from deaths, and engage with bereaved families and carers in this process.

Also published with the guidance is a suggested dashboard which provides a format for data publication by Trusts.

National Guidance for ambulance trusts on learning from deaths

The national guidance for ambulance trusts on learning from deaths is to help NHS ambulance trusts in England to improve the way they review and learn from the deaths of patients who had been under their care. It sets out a standard framework for ambulance trusts to use to develop and implement local learning from deaths policies.

The guidance closely reflects that on learning from deaths for NHS acute, mental health and community trusts, published by the National Quality Board in March 2017, whilst recognising the different role and operational context of ambulance trusts.

Shared commitment to quality

The National Quality Board (NQB) has published a new framework that will promote improved quality criteria across all national health organisations for the first time. The new publication provides a nationally agreed definition of quality and guide for clinical and managerial leaders wanting to improve quality. The approach has been agreed across NHS and social care organisations to provide more consistency and to enable the system to work together more effectively.

Right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time

In July 2016, the National Quality Board (NQB) published “Supporting NHS providers to deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time: Safe, sustainable and productive staffing”. This safe staffing improvement resource provides an updated set of expectations for nursing and midwifery care staffing, to help NHS provider boards make local decisions that will support the delivery of high quality care for patients within the available staffing resource. This resource:

  • sets out the key principles and tools that provider boards should use to measure and improve their use of staffing resources to ensure safe, sustainable and productive service, including introducing the care hours per patient day (CHPPD) metric;
  • identifies three updated NQB expectations that form a ‘triangulated’ approach (‘Right Staff, Right Skills, Right Place and Time’) to staffing decisions; and
  • offers guidance for local providers on using other measures of quality, alongside CHPPD, to understand how staff capacity may affect the quality of care.

This safe staffing improvement resource replaces the 2013 NQB guidance “How to ensure the right people, with the right skills, are in the right place at the right time: A guide to nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability.

Improving experiences of care: Our shared understanding and ambition

Having a good experience of your care, treatment and support is an essential part of an excellent health and social care service. The National Quality Board (NQB), with support from other partners, has published Improving experiences of care: Our shared understanding and ambition, which sets out a common way for the national health and care organisations on the NQB to talk about people’s experiences of care and their roles in improving them.

The document includes our shared ambition for improving people’s experiences of care, and also includes examples of good practice and resources, to support organisations and individuals in improving experiences of care.

Improving experiences of care: Our shared understanding and ambition is for all individuals and organisations within, or with an interest in, the health system. It also aims to provide people who use services with an understanding of what they can expect from their experiences of care.

Human factors in healthcare: a concordat from the National Quality Board

As set out in the response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the National Quality Board (NQB) has published a ‘Human Factors in Healthcare Concordat’ signed by its member organisations and other partners. The Concordat demonstrates the NQB’s commitment on behalf of the health system, to embedding a recognition and understanding of Human Factors across the NHS and in their activities, reflecting the value it can offer in respect of improving the quality and productivity of services to patients.

Much of the activity to embed Human Factors in healthcare sits with frontline providers and the NQB commits to working with NHS organisations, clinicians and NHS staff to understand their current capabilities and establish their requirements. This will inform the development of a programme of tailored support that enables NHS organisations to maximise the potential that Human Factors practices and principles can offer in relation to patient safety and experience, efficiency and clinical effectiveness. NHS England and Health Education England will lead the work to support the NHS in taking forward this important aspect of the patient safety agenda, working with other partners across the system.

National Data Quality Review

The National Data Quality Review has been produced by the Quality Information Committee (QIC) for the NQB. This report:

  • provides the first comprehensive collection and review of the work that is current and at national level which deals with data quality in the health and social care in England;
  • includes a set of recommended actions to strengthen the ability of the system to improve data quality;
  • identifies and shares examples of best practice in improving data quality.

Read the executive summary of the National Data Quality Review. A copy of the full report can be obtained from