NHS England published the Physiological Science network guidance on the 23rd May on NHS England’s internet page and the Physiological Science NHS Futures page. Connect to the NHS Futures page here, or download the guidance document here: Physiological science networks – A development framework_May 2023
The purpose of the guidance is to provide advice and guidance on establishing a PS network, key areas for consideration and examples of current work to support the formation of networks at a regional level. It is intended to provide a high-level development framework to support PS teams, service providers, regions and integrated care systems (ICSs) to come together and implement arrangements which meet local and regional circumstances and need.
Since the publication of Professor Sir Mike Richards’ independent report ‘Diagnostics; Recovery and Renewal’ and the need to bring diagnostic waits back to pre-Covid levels, diagnostics transformation has become a priority that has received significant government investment.
This offers us a unique opportunity to shape physiological science (PS) services so that they can deliver to future needs and circumstances. PS networks have a critical role to play in making this transformation a reality.
Networks and alliances bring together teams working in specific areas of healthcare to help facilitate delivery of high quality, efficient and patient-centred services.
Clinical networks have demonstrated that they can improve patient outcomes and care processes and by working together can achieve successful service improvement and transformation. We have seen this in other areas related to cardiology, cancer, respiratory networks, and diagnostic networks such as pathology and imaging.
We know that PS services have had a low profile and been poorly understood and resourced for decades, in part due to the multiple disciplines that contribute to PS.
The important role they play in supporting patients and clinicians in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of health issues across the whole life span cannot be
With the recommendations from the independent review of diagnostic services, the need to recover from Covid and reduce waiting times for diagnosis and disease
management, it is essential that PS services, acute and community providers trusts leaders, integrated care boards (ICBs) come together as a network along with
patients and other experts within regions to help transform these services.
They will play a key role in elective recovery, ensuring high quality accredited PS services, so that people can access the right PS tests, at the right time, performed
by the right person.
The establishment of PS networks will help drive the reorganisation and transformation of services at regional and local level. They will enable greater connectivity between individual services, driving standardisation, improving quality, supporting training and career progression and, create opportunities for shared learning between and across individual groups and services.
Dr Martin Allen
National Specialty Adviser for Physiological Science