Quality Neurology Project

Lead Applicant: Alun Davies, MS Society
Start date: 2007. End date: 2009
Contact email: [email protected]


Good work is being done on meeting the NSF quality requirements (QRs) by Primary Care Trusts (PCT) but there are no standardised ways of comparing the results and little independent service-user involvement in developing them.  Quality Neurology is a project which has been set up to test a way of monitoring progress against the NSF for LTNC requirements. It brings together the MS Society, Parkinson’s Disease Society, Motor Neurone Disease Association & Ataxia UK, in collaboration with the ‘Integrated Services’ research team at York University.  


The aim of developing an audit tool is to create a standardised interpretation with a focus on what the QRs mean to service-users.

What we will do and how we will do it

The tool, in the form of an interactive Excel spreadsheet, includes questions from a service-user perspective and is cross-referenced against the following national policy requirements;

  1. World Class Commissioning;
  2. Better Metrics;
  3. 7 Key Challenges for Health;
  4. National Minimum Standards for Care Homes for Adults.

A focus group methodology has been developed to test the audit findings against service-user experience and a peer-review system is being developed.  By using independently-run focus groups service users will feel able to talk openly. The peer review process will validate the action plans that will be the outcome of the whole process. 

Results of the research

The following outputs are expected from this project:
1) A practical, appropriate and comprehensive audit tool for local health and social care economies to use in assessing their current status in meeting the QR’s of the NSF for Long-term Conditions.
2) A process for completing the audit that encourages a whole-systems approach and has service users and carers at its centre.
3) A range of opportunities for meaningful engagement of people with long-term neurological conditions in influencing future service developments.
4) A peer review system for services for people with long-term neurological conditions that could potentially be rolled out across other care groups.
5) A raised profile for services for people with long-term neurological conditions.
6) Development of a ‘Long-term Conditions Network’ that encourages shared learning.
7) Audits of services for people with LTNCs completed in up to ten areas across England together with subsequent action plans to address priorities. This will provide policy makers with a picture of progress that has been made towards achieving the NSF in the three years since its launch.


Progress reports

Summer 2008 update

Eight PCT pilot sites, out of a possible ten, have been recruited to evaluate their progress against the QRs, by using the pilot audit tool. There have been some minor technical problems with it – and some minor issues around interpretation in using the tool, which we will continue to address as we update and refine it.  Of the sites that have started completing the tool, all are using different methods.  We will continue to monitor how it is implemented and maintain development of the focus group methodology and pre-pilot test as appropriate.

Summer 2009 update

The audit tool has been well received by users and evaluation from York University has lead to revision of the tool in its Excel format. This has now been used by one of the pilot sites and was well received. Exploration of converting the tool into a browser-based format for ease of use and exportation of relevant information into easy-to-view sections for action planning has been undertaken and looks promising.

Winter 2009 Update

The final report for this study will be available shortly. A powerpoint presentation to the Advisory Group in November 2009 is available to download in PDF format.

Summer 2010

This project is now complete.

For further information about the Quality Neurology Audit tool please go to the Neurological Commissioning Support website at www.csupport.org.uk/care-professionals/toolkit-professionals/used-already-professionals.html




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