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      The Alliance’s members were delighted to hear from Rachel Yates, Managing Director and Deputy SRO of the ‘Getting It Right First’ (GIRFT) programme, at our last meeting on 18th July.

      Led by frontline clinicians, GIRFT is a national programme designed to reduce unwarranted variations in service and practice, and to improve the quality of medical and clinical care. The programme was born out of a 2012 report by Professor Tim Briggs. Having examined the state of England’s orthopaedic surgery provision, Briggs suggested changes to improve pathways to care, patient experience and outcomes. A first pilot for orthopaedic surgery, hosted at the NHS Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust (RNOH) and NHS Improvement’s Productivity Directorate, has already helped to deliver efficiencies and savings of up to £30 million.

      Following the success of the pilot, GIRFT was initially expanded to a further 10 medical specialities and was recently expanded to 30+ specialities. GIRFT is firmly embedded within NHS Improvement’s thinking. NHS England’s ‘Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View’ estimates that the programme will deliver savings to the tune of £400m in 2017/18. Indeed, the programme’s latest report on national general surgery believes that if more acute hospitals introduced consultant-led surgical assessments at their ‘front door’ there could be as much as 30% fewer emergency admissions a year – saving £108m annually.

      Despite its widely-acclaimed merits and projected benefits, the GIRFT programme still faces big challenges. The visits first conducted by the GIRFT team, for example, had varying impact and did not always meet with the desire audience – surgeons, most notably. Whilst the project is clinician-led, it requires a degree of buy-in from managerial staff – change cannot occur if both are not on-side. Similarly, it is not immediately clear exactly how GIRFT fits in with Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) and there have been claims of overlap with NHS England’s ‘RightCare’ initiative, the body’s drive to reduce unwarranted variation in the commissioning of services, and to provide patients with better information and tools to decide on their own treatment.

      To learn more about the Alliance’s meeting on the GIRFT programme and our forthcoming meetings and activities, please contact secretariat@healthtechalliance.uk








      Rachel Yates, MD of the GIRFT programme presents the lessons learnt from the programme to members