Our chair professor Maureen Baker and CEO Lorraine Foley discuss the successes of the past year and look forward to the new achievements on the horizon for 2019.  

Lorraine Foley – The successes

It’s been an exciting year for the PRSB, and we’re not short of achievements to celebrate. Over the past 12 months our team has published five new standards, which means we have a set of transfer of care standards covering the major handovers between primary and acute care.  Earlier in the year we published the digital care and support plan, which will support better care for people with long-term conditions and the maternity care standard, which will make care better and safer for mums and their babies. We’ve also produced the first stage of our pharmacy information flows standard to improve information sharing between community pharmacies and GPs and the document naming standard, to make sure records are identifiable and can be easily retrieved.

Patient engagement has been a key focus for us in 2018, and we’ve appointed two new patient representatives to our team to support our work in this area. As the government outlines its vision for digital, data and technology in the NHS, we believe that people need to be at the heart of this digital change. That’s why we’ve introduced a leadership role for patients and citizens, to make sure that their voices are not only heard, but also instrumental to the development and adoption of standards for better care. 

Of course, producing standards isn’t enough- we need professionals across the UK to recognise their importance and work with us to deliver much-needed change. This year we’ve pumped our energies into raising awareness about standards, through popular animations, training videos, newsletter updates and engagement with our members. As well as getting our standards publicised through the media, the royal colleges are incorporating our standards into their own guidance, demonstrating their commitment to our vital work.


Forward look

Professor Maureen Baker looks at the next steps for PRSB, and what we hope to achieve in the coming year. 

Looking ahead to 2019, supporting implementation of standards for information sharing across the UK will be at the heart of our work. With publication of the Secretary of State’s vision for digital, data and technology and the NHS long-term plan due shortly, standards are clearly vital to supporting plans to transform the digital landscape of health and care. 

Our key projects for early 2019 include delivering a medications standard that will ensure clear and unambiguous medications information is shared between all parts of the health and care service, to improve the safety and effectiveness of prescribing. We will also undertake vital work on a set of pathology standards. 

At a national level we will work with our members and system partners to ensure we promote standards and their uptake widely, by aligning them with regulatory and improvement plans; we will learn from innovators and spread best practice as widely as possible. Rolling out a project we have started with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and its members to mobilise clinical leadership and engagement around digital transformation will be another key priority. We will continue to work closely with NHS Digital and INTEROPen to support the development of technical standards, so that information can be easily shared between different systems in health and care.

We recognise the importance of making information accessible in different parts of the UK, so we’re working closely with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to collaborate on developing standards and sharing learning from each country to improve health and care. However, we know it won’t be possible to solve the problems in the NHS alone. To achieve true integrated care, we need to be sharing information with social care and developing our relationships with social care organisations will be another key focus for us in 2019. 

There’s plenty to look forward to over the coming year, and we will be looking not just for the support of our existing members, but also to expand the number of organisations that we’re working with. Together we can make standardised records the backbone of the health and care system.