Specialist Hospitals to Play Major NHS Role According to Stevens

The boss of NHS in England has suggested that specialist hospitals can play a major role in clinical innovation going forward.

Simon Stevens stated that such institutions should share best practice and develop new care models in order to play a major role in the future of the health service.

Stevens has just penned a forward to a report by the Federation of Specialist Hospitals (FSH).

The report was launched in Parliament on 25th November.

Commenting on the potential of specialist hospitals, Stevens suggested that such institutions have already established an excellent track record across the NHS.

“As we radically redesign care, now more than ever before we need to seize the opportunities that science and new treatments offer patients. We must maximise the impact of these centres of excellence and spread their learning across the rest of the health service,” Stevens opined.

Continuing on his theme, Stevens outlined the successes of the new care models programme.

“Through the new care models programme, we are already supporting specialist networks, like those led by The Christie, The Royal Marsden, Moorfields Eye Hospital and other federation members, to serve a wider population.”

In the published report, it is recommended by the FSH that specialist hospitals can make a particularly valuable contribution to the fields of clinical research and innovation.

This potential should be recognised and supported by the implementation of national policy, with the Accelerated Access Review considered particularly important.

The launch event for the report saw a team of significant figureheads from across the whole service assembled.

These included former care minister Norman Lamb MP, minister for life sciences George Freeman MP, and FSH chair and national director of clinical quality and efficiency at the Department of Health, Professor Tim Briggs.

Commenting on the report at its launch, Professor Briggs suggested that specialist hospitals have particular characteristics that support their ability to engage in cutting-edge innovation and research.

“Specialist hospitals are characterised by their focus on a single speciality and, usually, by a disproportionately complex casemix. As such, specialist hospitals are often home to investment in cutting-edge innovation and are substantial contributors to clinical training and research.”

Briggs continued by emphasising the importance of such institutions to research in the NHS, and the commitment of those present at the launch of the support of this concept.

Adding to Briggs’ comments, Rob Webster, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, suggested that there was a fertile environment in the NHS for this initiative.

“There has never been a more important time for this, as innovation is fundamental to transforming NHS care and finding greater efficiency. As a champion of the Accelerated Access Review, I am grateful that this report reinforces that the ultimate test of the Review will be how effectively the health system is able to adopt and spread innovations like these for the benefit of our staff, our patients and the NHS.”


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