This July marks 70 years of the NHS – here’s to the next 70

This year our NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. It’s a welcome opportunity to recognise the vital role the NHS plays in our lives and champion the commitment and teamwork of NHS staff. The anniversary is also a chance to look forward to future developments in healthcare delivery.

At a recent Reform Health Conference Juliet Bauer, chief digital officer, NHS England said the organisation is looking to a ‘digital-first service’, while NHS Digital says the use of data and information has ‘a critical role to play’ in meeting the challenges facing the NHS.

We agree that data is crucial in the changing landscape of healthcare and, as you would expect, data is the starting point for our annual CHKS Top Hospitals awards. The awards reflect the success and achievements of NHS trusts in different areas. This year, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS FT came top in the quality of care category, based on a range of indicators including patient outcomes, waiting times and rates of readmission.

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust won our award for outstanding performance in providing a safe hospital environment for patients, while Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT won the patient experience award, which is based on surveys and patient experience scores. Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT won the data quality award for England, Northern Ireland and Wales. This award includes analyses of clinical coding accuracy, timeliness and completeness of data entry, all of which are necessary for appropriate patient care.

CHKS has over 27 years of experience in the analysis of hospital data and in this birthday year we are proud we can highlight best practice in this way. The awards differ from others in the sector because they are based on an independent and objective analysis and they demonstrate the importance of data as a starting point for improvement.

Data can also help to shape improvement throughout the health system, not just in acute care. From our work with NHS trusts we know that there are huge strides to be made in administrative healthcare, of which data is a key component. Administrative healthcare supports clinical delivery at the front line whether this is in community, mental health primary or secondary care.

The next ten years will be a critical period of evolution for the NHS. To continue to meet the needs of the population the NHS serves, it must be modern in its mentality and willing to embrace change. The radical thinking that led to the creation of the NHS 70 years ago is still needed today to help drive it forward so that it not only survives, but thrives.

The CHKS Top Hospitals awards show our commitment to helping NHS organisations to improve, using data as the means to inform and sustain improvements in healthcare quality, safety and efficiency. You can find out more about the winners of this year’s Top Hospitals awards here, but if you want to know how your trust performs against the Top Hospitals indicators contact

This year our NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. It’s a welcome opportunity to recognise the vital role the NHS plays in our lives and champion the commitment and teamwork of NHS staff.
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