About designing services

In order to provide the best possible care, services need to be designed around the needs of patients. While high-quality clinical care is vital, it is equally important to ensure that it is well coordinated and joined up across different services and settings.

This section includes:

  • guides to the medical specialties  and the services they provide for patients. These comprehensive guides, written by experts from each medical specialty, describe how services should be delivered and the resources required. Where possible, they also show how patient outcomes can be improved through service design. The guide to each specialty is divided into four sections:
  • description of specialty
  • access : how patient contact with the specialty is initiated
  • services delivered
  • maintaining quality : clinical standards and service specifications that local departments can use to ensure they are delivering the best possible care.

Expert information on health promotion is also included for each specialty where appropriate. This covers:

  • the patient population : important specialty-specific aspects of the local population that are essential for service design
  • prevention of disease : the main public health interventions supported by each specialty
  • planning effective services : key commissioning messages for service planners.