How we can help with local partnerships

Using our guidance, quality standards, advice and practical tools will help you tackle the priorities you’ve identified for your local partnerships.

Ensuring people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time across the health and social care system is the key to making the system sustainable and effective. Developing a shared vision about how to do this across health and social care locally will improve everyone’s health and wellbeing now and in the future.

We’re committed to helping systems to work in partnership to provide consistent, high-quality care, based on the best evidence. We will support the delivery of the priorities identified in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, explains the need for our resources for local partnerships.

Our support for transforming health and social care

We’ve signed up to the Shared Commitment to Quality. These set out the aims to improve population health, quality of care and financial sustainability of the health and social care systems, and to integrate and transform services to better meet the needs of people who use them.

We're a Quality Matters partner, leading and supporting a number of priorities to promote improved quality in adult social care. Along with other national organisations in social care and the NHS, we're also committed to promoting high quality, integrated, person-centred care and support, as set out in Integrated Care: our shared commitment.

We’re working with partners to support transformation, offer system leadership, encourage greater alignment across national bodies, and deliver consistent messages.

NHS RightCare is a national NHS England programme committed to delivering the best care to patients, making the NHS’s money go as far as possible and improving patient outcomes. The programme delivers a set of intelligence products such as pathways and data packs that are underpinned by our guidance, standards and associated products.

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) aims to improve care in the NHS by reducing unwarranted variation. There is scope to tackle many of these variations through adopting best practice, as defined by NICE. We’re working with the GIRFT programme to embed our guidance within their reports.

Our field team also offers face-to-face support to local and regional partnerships.

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Quality Matters

UNLOCKING CAPACITY: SMARTER TOGETHER is a Quality Matters resource designed to help health and adult social care work better together.

View the resource.

Quality matters banner with the title and logo.

Using our guidance to meet your priorities

Our guidance is based on the best available evidence of what works and is cost effective. And it’s produced by experts, including people who use services. You can use our resources in your local partnership to:

  • provide a common language to unite services around a shared aimhelp with difficult local discussions about what to deliversupport evidence-based pathway redesignimprove quality and safety of services by standardising practicesupport local uptake of innovative technologies, which may bring system benefits, efficiencies and cost savings reduce wasteful or inefficient practice help engage local communities.

Redesigning pathways and improving services across boundaries

Our evidence-based guidance helps ensure health and social care services in your area consistently provide the best quality care. It does this by identifying what the evidence says is effective, so you can design services that you know will work for the people who use them. And because our guidance identifies what is cost effective, you can also make the best of resources, and stop activity that’s not supported by evidence.

By providing a common framework and language to use across health, social care and other services, our guidance helps unite organisations around a shared aim. Our recommendations on what services should offer mean you can move on more quickly to how to achieve this across local areas.

You can use our baseline assessments (which are on the tools and resources tab on any of our guidelines web pages) and quality standards to prioritise areas to improve or redesign.

In some places, new local pathways will be needed in line with the NHS Long Term Plan objectives to break down artificial barriers between health and social care. More care will be delivered close to home, but with some services in specialist centres.

Where people move between different services (such as older adults moving between services provided by health and social care), you could refer to our guidance and NICE Pathways on service transition. These describe the most effective way of services being delivered generally. Then local services can be organised around a local care pathway.

Nurse, doctor and NHS manager having a conversation in a hospital corridor.

Reducing unwarranted variation and standardising care

Ensuring people access the right care, in the right place, at the right time means the NHS and social care can help more people effectively, now and in the future. Variation in care for different people can be the right thing, but it’s unacceptable to see inconsistencies across the country in the quality of care people receive. Equally, if different organisations have joined together under one local partnership, you may want to make sure they’re providing consistent care across similar services.

Our quality standards can help identify variation and areas for improvement in the care services provide in your local partnership, and make sure the best possible care is provided everywhere. By mapping these against the priorities in your local plan, you can focus activity on areas that will have the greatest impact.

Our quality standards and indicators contain ready-made, evidence-based metrics that can be used to create robust local quality indicators and dashboards. All of this also means organisations can show they're providing high quality care against national standards. See how to use quality standards.

Once you’ve identified areas of variation and prioritised opportunities to improve healthcare, our guidelines will tell you what best practice should look like.

For example, one local partnership covered 6 falls services, each with a different service model and referral criteria. They held a workshop and used our quality standards to evaluate all the services to identify and address gaps in quality. Then they used our guidance to design a standardised service model across the partnership.

Resources for local partnerships

Our other products and local support

Our role is to improve outcomes for people using health and social care services. We do this by:

  • Producing evidence-based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners. Our guidance is based on the best available evidence of what works and is value for money. We also provide tools to help you put guidance into practice.
  • Developing quality standards and performance metrics for those providing and commissioning health, public health and social care services. These help to standardise practice, reduce unwarranted variation and drive quality improvements.
  • Providing a range of information services for commissioners, practitioners and managers across the spectrum of health and social care. A way to find trustworthy, high-quality evidence and best practice.

See the into practice section of our website for information on our strategy to help with implementing our guidance, and practical tools to support this.

We have dedicated teams to support local areas with implementation of our guidance, standards and advice to meet the needs of their population.