News item

Archive of: November, 2010

  • Delivering quality in specialised care

    The Specialised Healthcare Alliance held its second national conference at the Royal Society of Arts on 16th November. Earl Howe, Minister for Quality at the Department of Health led an impressive array of speakers, while the audience included extensive representation from inside and outside the Alliance’s membership, including nine of the 10 regional Specialised Commissioning Groups.

    Although uncertainty remains around the commissioning environment which will emerge following the White Paper, there was considerable consensus around certain key issues including:

    • The need for the doctor/patient relationship to evolve in a way which taps into the ability of many patients to help inform both diagnosis and care, especially in the field of rare conditions and co-morbidities;
    • The role of patient organisations in protecting the vulnerable and driving up standards, sometimes through the provision of more innovative services;
    • The need to ensure integrated pathways, whether through financial mechanisms or other means such as multidisciplinary networks;
    • The potential contribution of NICE quality standards or their equivalent to specialised care;
    • The value of patient registries, with more sharply focused datasets helping to keep down costs.

    All were agreed that the quality of specialised services will be a litmus test for the NHS as it seeks to find savings.