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.

In November 2017, the Royal College of Physicians produced some practical guidance for hospitals on preparing for winter. The guidance is intended for clinical and system managers. As well as referring to good practice, it covers the key things that hospitals should be thinking about in the run-up to winter (although they also apply all year round).

Published in July 2018, the RCP's Guidance on safe medical staffing working party report aims to help those planning and organising core hospital medical services to answer the question: ‘How many doctors or their alternatives, with what capabilities, do we need to provide safe, timely and effective care for patients with medical problems?'. The guidance will be useful for individual hospitals in calculating and continuously monitoring their needs.