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Clinical Senate Review process – update

From September 2014 the 12 Clinical Senates across England are expected to take on the role formerly delivered by the National Clinical Assurance Team (NCAT) which ceased to exist as of April 2014.

What does Clinical Senate Review mean?

NHS England has a role to support and assure the development of proposals for service change by commissioners via the NHS England Assurance Process. One step in this process is to review major service change proposals against the clinical evidence base for it – it is this role that NCAT delivered previously and which Senates will now take on.

There are other elements of service change which are reviewed (patient engagement, patient choice, quality benefits, fit with best practice etc.). Clinical Senates will only be involved in the review of the clinical evidence base.

What is the expected process?

  1. Request for clinical review will come from either sponsoring commissioner or local area team of NHS England (with 3 months notice)
  2. Terms of reference (timescale, scope et.) for review agreed and signed off by Clinical Senate Council
  3. Review Team developed (minimum 8 weeks notice)
  4. Commissioner provides information (options appraisal etc.)
  5. Review of data, interviews and meetings led by Review Team
  6. Report written to be signed off by Clinical Senate Council (determining strength of evidence base)

The NHS England Assurance Process is shown below:

NCAT diag














The following papers were developed by the 12 Clinical Senates in England and signed off by the NHS England Service Reconfiguration Oversight Group on 5th August 2014.

  1. Clinical Senates in England – Single Operating Framework (to include existing and new role)click here
  2. Clinical Senate Review Process – Guidance Notes (to inform the process) – click here