In The Way Forward – Clinical Senates NHS England describes the Clinical Senates as the body that ‘brings together a range of professionals to take an overview of health and healthcare for local populations and provide a source of strategic, independent advice and leadership on how services should be designed to provide the best overall care and outcomes for patients.
The South West Clinical Senate will span professional groups and work alongside patient and public partners, Strategic Clinical Networks, Academic Health Science Networks, Public Health England and Health Education South West to support service reconfiguration and improve quality of health and social care cross the South West.
The Senate is a non-statutory entity with no executive authority or legal obligations which, in providing advice to commissioners, will take a broad view on the totality of health and social care.
By harnessing the collective expertise and intelligence across the region, we will position the Clinical Senate as a valued partner in the new commissioning landscape and will bring a renewed professional focus to the challenges facing health communities.
In order to be effective and credible, Clinical Senate membership needs to be multi-professional, geographically representative and span a variety of organisation types. Members will usually be experts with strategic abilities and be held in high regard in their respective fields. Members will be expected to decouple institutional allegiances and obligations from their advisory role on the Senate. The basis on which membership is founded will evolve over time.
Clinical Senates have the opportunity to develop professional consensus to help local health communities make effective decisions about quality, equity, safety and efficiency. The challenges faced by the NHS mean that the Clinical Senate will, at times, make unpopular recommendations. It is anticipated that as the Clinical Senate matures, it will be proactive as well as responsive.