National Quality Board's (NQB) Guidance on System Quality Groups (SQGs)

NQB's guidance on SQGs had now been published. All Integrated Care Systems are required to have a System Quality Group, focused on enabling quality improvement across the health and care system.

It's good to see recognition of the importance of Healthwatch and their insight in looking at system quality. SQGs are an important step in the development of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) - the SQG will be chaired by the Integrated Care Board executive quality lead - and the focus is now on quality at 'System' level rather than individual providers.

SQGs will be concerned with the full range of health and care services and providers within the ICS. This includes services commissioned by the NHS, jointly with local authorities or by local authorities. Given the breadth of the quality agenda, SQGs should focus on:

Appropriate depth of discussion to enable decision-making, with escalation by exception and advisory or task and finish groups set up to take forward priority work. Examples of such groups include:

‒ infection prevention and control (IPC)

‒ patient safety

‒ ICS safeguarding themes

‒ children and young people’s services (e.g. mental health, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)

‒ frailty and older people.

Improving people’s experience of care, co-design and co-production. This includes involving people with relevant lived experience as equal partners in the full range of SQG activities, including co-designing improvements

Other key areas include:

  • Population health and ICS quality issues

  • SMART objectives and priorities

The NQB is also currently developing:

  • Model terms of reference for ICB Quality Committees

  • Updated NHSEI Guidance on Risk Response and Escalation

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Youthwatch Darlington interview NSPCC and Kooth for this year's Children's Mental Health Week 2021.