Brief History and Context

In May 2000 the key document ‘Comprehensive Critical Care’ (DH, 2000) was released after national concerns were raised about critical care capacity and quality of care. This followed a number of high profile cases, including deaths associated with long-distance critical care transfers. Both ‘Comprehensive Critical Care’ and ‘Quality Critical Care, Beyond Comprehensive Critical Care’ (DH 2005) describe networks as being integral to the delivery and development of quality critical care services. This was reinforced in the ‘Evaluation of modernisation of adult critical care services in England: time series and cost effectiveness analysis’ (BMJ 2009; 339:b4353). The need for cross-organisational co-operation and development of quality through effective clinical engagement was, and remains, a priority to improve the care of these inherently high risk and highly vulnerable patients.

In December 2012 NHS England published ‘Developing Operational Delivery Networks: The Way Forward’ which emphasises the success of clinical managed networks and set out the principles for the newly designated Operational Delivery Networks. National service specifications for ODNs, based largely on the success of critical care networks, have been developed for each of the seven nationally mandated ODNs. It is expected that additional ODNs will be formed covering other specialty areas over time.

Clinical networks are an NHS success story. Combining the experience of clinicians, the input of patients and the organisational vision of NHS staff they have supported and improved the way we deliver care to patients in distinct areas, delivering true integration across primary, secondary and often tertiary care.

Clinical networks evolved as a means of engaging clinical stakeholders across organisational and professional boundaries to develop improvements in patient care and experience using best practice and shared learning.

As the NHS goes through its current transitional phase the role of networks is increasingly seen as vital to improving patient outcomes and the successful integration of clinical services. Emerging network models should continue to follow patient flows to maintain successful engagement.

Operational Delivery Networks (ODNs) cover areas such as neonatal intensive care, adult critical care, burns and trauma and are focused on coordinating patient pathways between providers over a wide area to ensure access to specialist support. ODNs work closely with Strategic Clinical Networks, commissioners, providers and patients.


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Quality Improvement

Quality measures aim to find the most appropriate and deliverable measures that can be used nationaly to help organisations improve the quality of care in their services. 

Training & Education

This section contains details of existing training opportunities available to staff groups within the trauma pathway. 

Trauma Surgeons

Patients who have suffered a severe injury often need complex reconstruction surgery and care from many professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists...

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