Greater Manchester Lancs & South Cumbria Senate

North West Senate Resources

Process for securing advice

The role of the Clinical Senate is to work with commissioners to provide advice on matters that will support commissioner decision making.

The North West Clinical Senate can:

  • Provide commissioners with informal clinical advice
  • Support commissioners where there is a need for advice or recommendations on complex clinical issues that would benefit from a whole system, strategic response
  • Provide independent clinical advice on a service change proposal


Process for Securing Advice from the North West Clinical Senates

The North West Clinical Senates support the development of the North West's health services by providing an impartial source of strategic clinical advice to commissioners to support them in making the best decisions about health care for the populations they serve.

This document lays out the process for seeking advice from the Clinical Senates and details how the Senates will go about formulating that advice and publishing it.  The document also provides a template for completion by the topic sponsor to ensure the relevant scope of information is provided.

Guide to Developing a Case for Change for a Clinical Senate Review

Clinical Senates are a unique resource; they are able use the knowledge and expertise of clinicians, health professionals and patient representatives from across health and social care to provide evidence based, independent clinical advice on proposals for service change.  With expertise from across their respective areas, Clinical Senates understand the potential impact of service change proposals across their geography and the wider system to help inform commissioners and providers to make the best decisions for their population.

In the six years since we have been established, the twelve Clinical Senates in England have undertaken circa 300 independent clinical reviews on proposals for service change.  These proposals have ranged from providing advice on proposals covering system wide transformation to single service issues across a wide area (for example vascular services) and from clinical service integration as part of provider trust mergers to patient safety issues on clinical service areas (such as maternity services and emergency departments opening hours).

In that time, one of the things we have recognised is that a well written, informative and honest case for change that sets out the problem and proposals to remedy the problem is fundamental information for the clinical review panels.  Providing the story will also help patients, the public, staff and other stakeholders to understand why the proposed changes are needed, what will happen, how and what will be the impact on patients, workforce, service quality and sustainability.  

Equally, the Clinical Senates have all recognised that putting such a document together is difficult; there is no ‘template’ but whilst each case for change will be unique, one thing that we have learned is that the information required for the panel is of a similar nature.   We recognise as well that for commissioners, resource constraints can also be an issue. 

The Clinical Senates are committed to sharing our own learning and supporting the health and care system.  Drawing from our experiences, we have brought together this short guide to developing a case for change for clinical services.  We should caveat that by stating that this guide refers to the information for the clinical case for change, not the full case for change which will inevitably include financial challenges.  Clinical Senates do not consider the financial aspect and so no reference is made to that in this guide.

We hope that this, together with the examples and other sources of support in this guide, will be helpful in developing your clinical case for service change.

National Clinical Senates Topic Log


You can view the National Clinical Senates Topic Log here

The Clinical Senates across England have collated and summarised their formal clinical reviews over the last 5 years.  These are available in the National Clinical Senates Topics Log.

Click on the link above to access the Topics Log and use the filter options to search for reviews of your choice by service area, geography, type of review, etc.  You will find links to all of the published reviews within the Topics Log as well.

Thanks go to our colleagues in the Thames Valley Clinical Senate for their work in collating this information on behalf of the Clinical Senates across England.