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Surgeons offer commissioning standards for NHS Providers

23 May 2011

New non-NHS providers aiming to treat NHS patients following the Health Reforms need to meet a seven point list of requirements if they are to equal the standard of current provision. This is the view of the Royal College of Surgeons published today [Monday, 23 May 2011] in their response to the NHS Future Forum listening exercise.

The College believes that in order to ensure the delivery of comprehensive and competent services commissioners should adhere to the following principles and standards when taking commissioning decisions:

  1. Training the healthcare workforce – a contractual commitment to training and the ability to deliver the standards and outcomes agreed and published by the professions.
  2. Educating the healthcare workforce – a contractual commitment to provide appropriate education and continuing professional development opportunities for all health professionals.
  3. Clinical audit – contractual agreements to ensure participation in clinical audit and publication of audit outcomes.
  4. Research and development – contractual agreements to ensure participation in high quality research which is essential for advancing and improving patient care and outcomes.
  5. Commissioning a complete service – ensuring the service includes arrangements for full emergency provision at the appropriate level. There must also be proper follow-up and a commitment to dealing with long-term complications and carrying out revision surgery.
  6. Measuring outcomes – outcomes to be measured coherently to enable comprehensive benchmarking across the NHS, with the data made available to the profession and used to inform practise and improve patient safety.
  7. Appropriate impact on the local healthcare economy – when commissioning a service, a full assessment must be made of the impact of the decision on existing patients’ pathway of care in order to safeguard patients’ access.

President of the Royal College of Surgeons, John Black, said:

“It is the role of the Royal Colleges to provide clinical leadership and set the standards for high quality care wherever it is delivered. In providing these seven points we are helping ensure commissioning decisions take into account the full range of what new services will need to achieve.”

The full RCS submission to the NHS Future Forum can be found here.

Notes to Editors
1.    The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808. For more information please visit
2.    If you have any queries please contact:
Matthew Worrall     – Email:; T: 020 7869 6047
Elaine Towell        – Email:; T: 020 7869 6045
Heather Casey      - Email:; T: 020 7869 6042
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