Skip to main content

Academy statement: Review of clinical standards

Looking at clinical standards and targets was one of the workstreams set up in developing the Long Term Plan. It was stated in the final document that further work and discussion was required on the subject and this is being led by Professor Steve Powis, NHS England Medical Director. Professor Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the Academy, was part of the original work group before the publication of the plan along with other College Presidents. It is expected that the Academy and Medical Royal Colleges will form an important part of the review.

Professor MacEwen, said,

“Reviewing, updating and improving the clinical standards to ensure that they remain relevant and appropriate is sensible and overdue. We support an evidence based review that is driven by clinical considerations as to what is appropriate, that informs and promotes changes in service delivery where needed and involves wide input from all relevant parties.

The review is not about relaxing or indeed even tightening current administrative targets, but about setting the right standards that are clinically most appropriate for patients. This must and can be done without unintended adverse consequences, and it can both sustain short waits while ensuring further gains in clinical quality.

It is not about rejecting current targets but is about considering alternatives to enable clinical improvements – any review may suggest change or reinforce current measures”

NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis said,

“In the NHS Long Term Plan we committed to reviewing clinical standards to ensure patients get the best possible care. This includes emergency services, elective care, mental health, cancer and A&E.

“The review oversight group will meet again soon and as we always planned now the initial analysis has been undertaken we intend to widen the involvement of clinical staff, including urgent and emergency care staff.

“The Plan also commits to a period of field testing by selected A&E departments before the introduction of any new measures, which will of course have patient safety as a primary concern.”