‘We must use this crisis as a huge opportunity for change’ says GIRFT Chair

Professor Tim Briggs quote

Professor Tim Briggs – Chair of Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) and the National Clinical Director of Improvement for the NHS – has spoken of the programme’s role in setting standards and shaping the ‘new normal’ for healthcare as services recover and restart after the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview for InQuisit website, Professor Briggs outlines how data gathered by GIRFT can be used to work towards equality of access and excellence in outcomes for all NHS patients in the post-pandemic landscape.

He says: “As we move into the recovery phase, GIRFT will play a major role.

“The plan is to use GIRFT data and metrics to set the standard for each specialty – what we want the new normal to be as regards patient outcomes. This will set the benchmark for what NHS services should be aiming to deliver. The top decile will become the new norm for quality outcomes and efficiency.

“I know many clinicians have been working flat out and it will take a bit of time as we try to restart services. At the end of the day, if we get all health services to aim for the top decile, we will improve patient outcomes, deliver efficiencies (such as the reduction in unnecessary procedures) and, in doing so, improve the quality of working lives for our staff.”

In the interview, Professor Briggs also speaks of the work the GIRFT team carried out to support national efforts at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with clinicians returning to the frontline and non-clinical staff redeployed on projects such as verifying the technical specification of personal protection equipment (PPE).

In the restoration and recovery phase, GIRFT is embracing technology to continue its improvement work, replacing face to face ‘deep dive’ meetings in trusts with virtual meetings to discuss local data remotely.

He added: “The presence of COVID-19 has transformed the way we work. I’ve been amazed at how clinicians have stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. Clinicians and their NHS organisations have worked together to achieve in days the type of change that would previously have taken years to accomplish.

“The biggest risk for me is that we go back to the old ways of working. We must keep doing things differently and use this crisis as a huge opportunity for change.”

Read the interview in full here.

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