At a glance: NHS Modernisation Agency

What is it? The agency set up to improve the way the NHS operates – to spread best practice, turn round failing hospitals and so on.

That’s a grand brief. Why would PROs be concerned with it?

The agency is working with bodies such as PCTs and NHS Trusts to develop new guidelines, but what’s interesting is that it wants input from as many other stakeholders as possible and talks about ‘learning from other industries’.

…which is where PROs come in?

Exactly. Sharing of information about best practice is at the top of the agency’s wishlist. For healthcare PROs already involved in information and education programmes with NHS practitioners, there is scope to influence the future shape of the organisation. And at the very least, this consultation process will give a good indication of the environment in which pharma PROs will need to negotiate in the future.

What’s on the agenda?

The agency has published a concept paper looking at future opportunities in light of improvement methods which have delivered tangible benefits for patients. So driving clinical improvement, sharing skills and experience in local health and social care, setting up incentives for improvement, promoting local learning and fieldtesting new ideas and approaches are being discussed.

Will the agency follow this through?

Not exactly. A new central body will replace it next year.

Why so slimline?

The idea is that responsibility for improvement is increasingly devolved to local level. The new body is expected to commission support from a range of private – as well as public sector – providers. Changes which come out of this ‘system for improvement’ will affect other bodies such as the Healthcare Commission.

Is there a time limit?

We’re coming to the end of the consultation period, so responses must be in by 21 May.

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