The Clinical Senate will respond to requests for clinical advice on matters that will support decision making from Integrated Care Systems (ICS), NHS England (Strategy and Transformation), health providers, Local Authority / Health & Wellbeing Boards and other stakeholders.

A request for advice can be made, and accepted, at any stage of service development. The Clinical Senate will:

  • Provide ICSs with informal clinical advice in the early stages of consideration and while options are being considered. This advice can take several forms as:
    • sharing best practice from the pooled expertise of clinical senate members, informed by the learning of the combined clinical reviews they have undertaken.
    • providing a unique forum for the provision of impartial clinical and multi-professional expertise that understands the local challenges within the national context.
    • operating as ‘an honest broker’ to help create a forum where conflicting clinical views can be reconciled or issues that have become entrenched and block progress can be resolved.
  • Support ICSs where there is a need for advice or recommendations on complex clinical issues that would benefit from a whole system, strategic response.
  • At the request of NHS England as part of its service change assurance process, provide independent clinical advice on a service change proposal.  NHS England guidance on planning, assuring and delivering service change highlights the role of Clinical Senates in providing independent clinical advice (for more information see here: NHS England » Planning, assuring and delivering service change for patients)
    • This role takes on greater significance with the increasing complexity or level of contention associated with the service change proposals. This is particularly important where there may be a risk of referral for judicial review. Working with commissioning organisations the Clinical Senate will agree terms of reference for a topic and then convene an Expert Review Panel (ERP) by bringing together the relevant expertise from its council, external experts and other relevant bodies clinical network. Members of the panel are required to submit both a declaration of interest, and a confidentiality agreement.