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NHS Health Check e-Bulletin- December 2013 edition

Foreword by Professor Kevin Fenton

Prof Kevin FentonAs we head into the holiday season, I’m delighted to introduce our last e-bulletin of 2013 and to take the opportunity to thank you for all of your valuable feedback and insights over the past year. I hope you find these e-bulletins a helpful resource, as we build our community of learning around the NHS Health Check programme.

One area that we know needs more focus is quality: how do we make sure that the quality of NHS Health Checks is consistently good - everywhere. This was one of the core messages that came out very strongly from the feedback of our Implementation Review. Indeed, we included quality standards in our ten point action plan, committing Public Health England, to: ‘release and review on a regular basis best practice guidance describing all the elements and standards it would expect of a quality programme such as quality of delivery and robustness of data capture and reporting.'

I’m delighted to be able to update you on where we’ve got to on this core priority, by sharing with you our draft National Quality Assurance (QA) standards. This is the first release of QA standards for the programme. The standards have been developed by the QA working group, which includes local authority commissioners, Directors of Public Health, PHE, laboratory leads and clinicians.

This draft comes with a caveat: the standards only focus on a limited number of points on the pathway and therefore are not themselves sufficient to “quality-assure” the totality of the programme. However, they lay the foundation for a more comprehensive set of standards and are an important starting point for embedding more consistency and robust evaluation of the quality that users expect from their NHS Health Check. The success of these standards depends on our working together to establish a culture of quality improvement and on our learning from each other how best to sustain this culture for the long-term.

The aim is to present a final version of these standards at the National Conference: NHS Health Check 2014 - share, listen, act on the 27 February. We’re keen to know what you think of them, so please do email and let us know your views.

I wish you all a restful and safe holiday, after the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment you all have shown to this world-leading programme.