The Independent Reconfiguration Panel is the independent expert on NHS service change.
We review proposals for changes to NHS services that are being contested, and advise the Secretary of State for Health. We also offer support to the NHS and other bodies on achieving successful change.
The proposals we assess or review can relate to hospital-based services, community-based services or specialised regional or national services. The focus of our work is the patient and quality of care in the context of safe, sustainable and accessible services for local people. Depending on the nature of the proposals we are asked to look at, this may include issues such as workforce, estate, use of technology or finance.
Who we are
The panel members have wide-ranging expertise in clinical healthcare, NHS management, public and patient involvement. Our code of practice (MS Word Document, 1.63MB) covers our rules on accountability, liability and openness. We keep a declaration of interests of any members’ private interests that may conflict with public duties.
We have our own general terms of reference (MS Word Document, 40.5KB)
Our duties include:
- giving expert advice to ministers on proposed NHS reconfigurations or significant service change in England, and the available options
- basing advice on whether the proposals will provide safe, sustainable and accessible services for the local population, taking account of:
- clinical and service quality
- patient choice
- future referral needs of local GPs who commission services
- national health strategy and policy
- offering informal advice to NHS and other interested bodies on developing proposals for significant service change
For more information on how we carry out our work, see:
- Template for providing initial assessment information (MS Word Document, 64.5KB) on contested proposals for changes to NHS services, to be completed by NHS England
How we advise the Secretary of State (MS Word Document, 87.5KB)
Advice on presenting evidence to the IRP (MS Word Document, 89KB)
- how NHS organisations, local authorities and other interested bodies can request informal advice (MS Word Document, 47KB) for anyone concerned about issues in local health service changes in their area.
Regulations and guidance:
- Local authority regulations
- Department of Health guidance for local authorities
- NHS England guidance for the NHS
- NHS England guidance on patient and public participation (PDF, 3.15MB, 62 pages)
Our current work
In the last year, we have provided initial assessment advice on referrals from Devon, Hartlepool and Grantham. We are currently considering referrals from Thurrock and Oxfordshire.
We have provided informal advice to organisations and individuals on health issues in Cumbria, Devon, Dorset, Greater Manchester, Kent, Lincolnshire, London, Newcastle and the north east, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire as well as advice on specialised commissioning and general advice on NHS reconfiguration issues to national organisations.