Nuffield Health unites with independent health providers to implement new medical governance framework

Nuffield Health has joined independent healthcare providers across the country in committing to implement a new medical governance framework that will help ensure all independent sector providers in England are able to further improve the care they are giving to their patients.

The Independent Healthcare Providers Network, which represents independent healthcare providers delivering both NHS and privately-funded care (and of which we are a member), asked former national NHS National Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh to develop some key principles to strengthen and build upon on the medical governance systems already in place in the sector.

These principles form part of a Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework which will be launched today at IHPN’s annual summit in London, and reinforce expected practice in a number of key areas including:

  • Clinical governance structures
  • Patient safety, clinical quality and continuous improvement 
  • Whole practice appraisal of clinicians
  • Raising and responding to concerns from staff and patients

In developing the framework, Sir Bruce was supported by an Expert Advisory Group including representatives from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), General Medical Council (GMC), NHS England & Improvement, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Patients Association.

In addition to us, so far over 28 independent providers, representing over 200 individual sites, have signed up to implementing the framework, and the CQC have committed to considering the effective and robust implementation of the framework’s principles as evidence of good governance and will inform the judgement they make about how well led a service is. The framework will also be reviewed in late 2020 to ensure the principles remain in keeping with current best practice around medical governance in the health system.   

Our Chief Executive, Steve Gray said: “Having worked closely with IHPN on the Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework we are delighted to see the launch of this valuable initiative.

 “The framework fits with Nuffield Health’s drive for continual improvement and gives the wider independent sector a platform to further improve the quality and safety of patient care through a more standardised approach to medical governance.

“It will now be rolled out across Nuffield Health’s hospitals through their Medical Advisory Committees, and we look forward to regulators using it as a tool to assess the quality of leadership in hospitals.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, lead for the Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework, said: “Independent healthcare providers currently deliver healthcare to millions of people every year, including a significant number of NHS patients. While the vast majority of care in independent providers is of high quality and underpinned by robust safety and medical governance processes, more can and should be done to ensure clinicians and independent providers are working together to perform to the highest possible standards. 

“I’ve therefore been delighted to work with healthcare regulators, Medical Royal Colleges and healthcare providers from across the independent sector to develop the Medical Practitioners Assurance Framework which will help foster a more standardised approach to medical governance in the sector and ultimately drive up the quality and safety of care for patients.”

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said: “Strong medical governance is the bedrock of safe patient care and I’m therefore delighted that IHPN has had the opportunity to work with Sir Bruce Keogh in developing this framework, which will play a critical role in raising the bar in medical leadership and ensuring greater consistency around how clinicians work across the independent sector and NHS.”

“While the Care Quality Commission made clear in their report on independent acute hospitals last year that the overwhelming majority of care delivered in the sector is either good or outstanding, the sector was quick to act on their call for greater consistency around medical governance. The development of this framework demonstrates this culture of learning and continuous improvement which can be found in the sector and will give confidence to patients that independent healthcare providers are committed to delivering the safest possible care.”

Last updated Tuesday 15 December 2020

First published on Wednesday 23 October 2019