The National Orthopaedic Alliance – improving quality in orthopaedic care across England

Release Date: 18/01/2017

The National Orthopaedic Alliance – improving quality in orthopaedic care across England

Professionals at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital are playing a leading role within a National Orthopaedic Alliance which has a simple, yet ambitious aim – to raise standards of orthopaedic care across England.

The NOA was brought together towards the end of 2015 as part of NHS England’s New Care Models programme.

Set up and led by the five Specialist Orthopaedic Alliance (SOA) founder members, it has expanded rapidly and aims to make a tangible impact in 2017.

John Grinnell, Deputy Chief Executive at RJAH, has been at the forefront of the NOA project and is excited about the opportunities it offers. He said: “By working closely together as a group, we are developing best practice quality standards that can be demonstrated and replicated in other hospitals.

“The aim is to establish a quality standard for orthopaedic care – to be able to show not just ‘what good looks like’, but also ‘how to get to good’.

“We have already recruited a quarter of all NHS orthopaedic providers to the alliance, and expect that to grow rapidly as we establish the standards. It’s an exciting project and patients stand to benefit from raised standards and better outcomes.”

The NOA, which is an acute care collaboration (ACC) vanguard project, is led by:

It is building on existing work that has been done by the SOA. The vanguard is based on a Quality Standards membership model founded on evidence-based descriptors of ‘what good looks like’ in orthopaedic care.

It will create tools for providers and commissioners to enable them to consistently achieve quality and efficiency including a clear benchmarking system and will develop flexible contracting mechanisms to ensure that commissioners can adopt the quality assured new model of care in different local health systems.

The NOA will also be seeking opportunities to support other specialties in adopting similar quality based membership models to drive improvements in care.

Fundamentally, the aim of the NOA is fourfold:

  1. Improving clinical outcomes for patients.  
  2. Improving the quality of life of patients – both their overall experience and their confidence.
  3. Improving operational efficiency, and creating savings across the orthopaedic specialty
  4. Creating savings and quality improvements across other specialties.

It’s an exciting time for the NOA as momentum starts to build and work is underway writing the Quality Standards that will form the basis of how the vanguard works.

We are also delighted to have received funding for year three of the project. We are excited to continue our work around developing Quality Standards for orthopaedic care while looking for opportunities to replicate our model across other specialties.

NOA Lead Chief Executive, Jo Chambers from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, said: “The NOA will be actively seeking new members to spread coverage of the standards and quality improvement approach.

“The quality standard will become a differentiating characteristic which we anticipate will support commissioners when determining where to commission provider services.”

NOA Lead Clinician, Peter Kay, who is leading on the Quality Standards, said: “The objective of the NOA vanguard is to improve the delivery of orthopaedics across the country and to recognise individual units for their excellence in delivery and outcomes in orthopaedic care, creating an improvement methodology to achieve excellence.

“Key to achieving our objectives is the recognition of what ‘good looks like’. The Specialist Orthopaedic Alliance (SOA) holds much of the best practice and delivers excellent outcomes for the patients and because of this we have involved our members in writing the Quality Standards.

“To do this we will use Best Practice from across the SOA along with a comprehensive set of information packs which have been written for us by the British Medical Journal.

“We are kicking off with 7 pilots:

  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Periprosthetic Infection
  • Safety
  • Theatre efficiency
  • Enhanced Recovery
  • Coding and Costing.”

For more information on the National Orthopaedic Alliance:

Visit:  Email:   Follow: @NOA_Vanguard

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