Invited reviews are commissioned by healthcare organisations when they need independent and objective expert advice on the clinical services they provide. Invited reviews provide this advice through reliable, trustworthy peer review processes, which support, but do not replace, existing procedures for managing performance.

Invited reviews may be carried out anywhere within healthcare (both NHS and private). They do not form part of the regulatory framework but are recognised as a valuable way to improve services, ensuring patient safety and improving clinical care.

The specific type and nature of the invited review service offered varies depending on the royal college or professional body involved. You can learn more about the services each college offers through our invited reviews contact page.

The Framework for invited reviews ensures there is a consistent approach to reviews, and that the expectations of both those commissioning and undertaking the reviews are clear. The 2022 update of the Framework had input from royal colleges who undertake reviews, NHS Providers, CQC, NHSEI and the GMC, to ensure that they continue to be a highly valuable resource.


The new 2022 Framework can be downloaded below.


The use of invited reviews by healthcare organisations to proactively improve the standard of clinical care that they provide is recognised and supported by many of our stakeholders, here’s what they had to say:


Academy Chair, Professor Dame Helen Stokes Lampard,

“We are pleased to be able to publish this updated framework of principles that guide the process of invited reviews.  They are a valuable way of healthcare services building improvements by seeking professional feedback from those who fully understand the complexities of healthcare and who can provide objective, independent advice on the services they review.”


Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement,

“Improving the quality of services and the safety of those patients who use them is a fundamental priority for the NHS and all those who work within it. Independent, objective, and expert reviews have an important role to play in supporting that priority, both for the services which commission them and for the wider system. We therefore welcome this framework and the principles within it agreed by senior clinicians to ensure consistency in how these reviews are conducted, including that they involve patients and the public, and importantly that appropriate action is then taken swiftly.  Transparently sharing information will not only help a provider improve their quality of care but will ultimately help the NHS to learn and improve together.”


Nigel Acheson, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Care Quality Commission,

“The Care Quality Commission in England, and its equivalents in the devolved authorities, are very supportive of invited reviews, viewing them positively as support for improvement and development of services.”


Danny Mortimer, Deputy Chief Executive: NHS Confederation,

“Members of NHS Confederation have always valued the expert and objective advice offered by independent reviews.  We have been pleased to present the views of our members to the Academy as they have updated the guidance for reviews and welcome this clear and helpful guidance.”


Miriam Deakin, Director of Policy and Strategy, NHS Providers,

“NHS trusts and foundation trusts have long appreciated the independent clinical expertise afforded by invited reviews, which help provide trusts with external assurance around the high-quality care that they provide to patients. As invited reviews represent an invaluable tool, we hope that this updated guidance will serve to enhance the process for trusts and will ensure that invited reviews continue to support the established processes for overseeing and managing operations.”