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Clinical Networks

Topics Covered

The topics covered by the Clinical Senate relate to large-scale service change such as major relocations of services and significant changes in the way services are delivered.

The requests for advice that we have already considered in Wessex are:

  1. The Clinical Senate is asked to review the proposed service reconfiguration for vascular services against national and local guidance and to advise on the potential impact on patient outcomes, co-dependencies, co-location of services and standards for inter-organisational or inter-agency collaboration.
  2. Are current patient flows between acute service providers in Wessex and to acute service providers outside Wessex appropriate and to the patient benefit or are they instead driven by historical relationships between clinicians and providers?
  3. The Clinical Senate is asked for impartial clinical advice on the optimal configuration of maternity and co-dependent clinical services in Wessex, taking into account population projections, changes in the profile and health of mothers/babies, deprivation, workforce constraints, innovation, research and technological advances.

See the publications page for recommendations on topics already considered and for the minutes of Clinical Senate Council Meetings.

How we deliberate and make recommendations

The Clinical Senate uses a charrette model in which participants collaborate to resolve a problem or issue within a specified time limit.

Senate Council meetings usually last all day. Papers are sent out for the meeting at least three weeks in advance and they include:

  1. A copy of the request for advice from a commissioner(s)
  2. A clinical case for change from a lead commissioner with a clear recommendation for implementation
  3. Analysis of the health issues (e.g. research papers, public health data, NICE guidelines, local hospital activity or quality data)

The Senate Chair and Senate Manager actively work with the requesting commissioner to ensure that we have enough information before the meeting to make a decision.

The first part of the meeting is spent listening to the views of key stakeholders on the clinical case for change. The Senate Council members then hold the remainder of the meeting in private to allow for a robust exchange of views. Finally a recommendation or statement is drafted.

Some of the topics covered by the Clinical Senate are vast and require more than one meeting.

One of the Clinical Senate Members has a lot of experience in patient and public engagement and the Strategic Clinical Networks and Senate support team work very closely with the nursing directorate within NHS England to develop patient and public engagement plans for the topics considered.

The Clinical Senate has another role in providing clinical advice as part of NHS England’s service change process. For further details see the planning and delivering service change for patients page.