GIRFT methodology extended to more than 30 medical specialties

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT), a programme designed to improve clinical quality and efficiency within the NHS by reducing unwarranted variations, has announced that it is recruiting new clinical leads as it grows to cover more than 30 clinical specialties.

It comes after the Government announced in November 2016 that GIRFT would receive an additional £60m funding to expand and accelerate delivery of the programme. The programme uses actual trust data and insight from frontline medics to identify differences in the way services are delivered. In addition GIRFT also encourages the sharing of best practice between trusts and proposes improvements within specialties to help improve patient outcomes and bring about efficiencies that can be ploughed back into services.

Professor Tim Briggs, who is Chair of GIRFT and NHS Improvement’s National Director of Clinical Quality and Efficiency, explained: “Because GIRFT is led by clinicians, frontline medics in the specialties being reviewed welcome the programme because they can share both their best practice and their challenges with people that understand clinical service. We now need more clinicians to roll out that approach to more specialties.

“The orthopaedic pilot has already helped deliver efficiencies and savings of up to £30million, with another £20million forecast for 2015/16. But importantly, good patient outcomes and safety have remained paramount throughout the programme.”

Dr Jeremy Marlow, NHS Improvement’s Executive Director of Operational Productivity, said the newly added specialties would benefit from the deep-dive, clinically led approach. He said: “Because each specialty area is led by a clinical expert, and it uses trust data which it explores with clinicians and trust managers on the ground, the programme not only indentifies unwarranted variations in service, it gets to the heart of why they occur and how best they can be remedied.

“By rolling out the GIRFT methodology to more clinical areas I am confident we will start to see the same level of efficiencies and savings we have seen in orthopaedic surgery, which will ultimately lead to even better patient outcomes.”

The current specialties and clinical leads are:

1. Orthopaedics
Clinical Lead, Professor Tim Briggs;
Orthopaedic Spinal Surgery, Clinical Lead, Mike Hutton;
Neuro Spinal Surgery, Advisor, Justin Nissen
2. General Surgery Clinical Lead, John Abercrombie
3. Vascular Clinical Lead, Professor Mike Horrocks
4. Urology Clinical Lead, Simon Harrison
5. Cranial Neurosurgery Clinical Lead, Nick Phillips
6. Ear, Nose and Throat Clinical Lead, Andrew Marshall
7. Paediatrics, Clinical Lead, Simon Kenny
8. Oral and Maxillofacil Clinical Lead, Maire Morton
9. Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinical Lead, Rob Sherwin
10. Ophthalmology Joint Clinical Leads, Caroline McEwen and Alison Davies; Advisor,Lydia Chang
11. Cardiothoracic Surgery Clinical Lead, David Richens
12. Medical Negligence Clinical Litigation Lead, John Machin

The newly announced specialties are:

1. Acute and General Medicine
2. Dentistry
3. Breast Surgery
4. Plastic Surgery and Burns
5. Intensive and Critical Care
6. Emergency Medicine
7. Imaging and Radiology
8. Cardiology
9. Geriatric Medicine
10. Outpatients
11. Respiratory
12. Dermatology
13. Neurology
14. Rheumatology
15. Gastroenterology
16. Diabetes and Endocrinology
17. Pathology
18. Renal
19. Mental Health
20. Anaesthetic and Perioperative Medicine

Clinicians will lead a project to compile a data and insight driven report into their specialty, which is then followed up by trust meetings with their peers and trust managers to discuss the findings and provide more context around practice and challenges. The deep dive process is followed by a national report for each specialty presenting GIRFT’s findings, examples of best practice and an action plan of changes and improvements.


Melanie Proudfoot, Head of Communications, GIRFT

More updates