The NHS is facing a series of profound challenges from spending constraints, organisational change and rising demand for care. The impact of the financial challenge is now being felt, with the NHS experiencing job cuts, closures to services, and intended reconfigurations.
As a result of these challenges, the measurement, monitoring and safeguarding of the quality of patient care is centre stage of debate and discussion on the future of the NHS.
This inaugural conference from the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation provided a forum for policy-makers, clinicians, managers and other professionals engaged in assessing and improving care quality to come together to examine how quality is changing during a period of constrained funding.
The conference marked the launch of QualityWatch, a new Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation research programme which is tracking a range of indicators across the NHS and social care, as well as providing in-depth analysis on selected topics, in order to provide independent scrutiny of the state of care quality and how it is changing over time.
The programme is looking across all care sectors to help those working in health and social care to explore whether or not care is improving.
The conference featured new research and analysis and brought together key individuals in organisations at national, regional and local level that are responsible for quality in the reformed health and social care system. A key focus of the day was on exploring different methodological approaches to examining quality.