About Us


NHS England was established in April 2013 as a direct result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Its key aim is to secure the best possible health outcomes for patients, by making them the priority in every decision taken.

NHS England oversees the twelve Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) and Clinical Senates, as set out in ‘The Way Forward: Strategic Clinical Networks and Clinical Senates’. Within NHS England there are four regional teams (North, Midlands and East, London and South), and within the NHS South there are seven Area Teams, of which Wessex is one. The Wessex Area Team hosts the Wessex Clinical Senate and SCNs.

The Clinical Senates and SCNs work across the boundaries of commissioning and provision, as engines for change in the modernised NHS.

The Clinical Senates and SCNs work across the boundaries of commissioning and provision, as engines for change in the modernised NHS. They provide an organisational model through which professionals; organisations and service users (patients, carers and members of the public) collaborate to bring about transformational change which will deliver improved patient outcomes and experience.  These are developed around the five National Areas of Improvement (domains) identified in ‘the NHS Outcomes Framework 2011/12’:

  • Domain 1: Preventing people from dying prematurely
  • Domain 2: Enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions
  • Domain 3: Helping people to recover from episodes of ill-health or following injury
  • Domain 4: Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
  • Domain 5: Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.

SCNs work in partnership with commissioners (including local government), supporting their decision making and strategic planning. The overall aim is to address local variation and inequalities in health outcomes and experience across the four condition areas, which are identified in ‘The NHS Outcomes Framework 2011/12: as areas where major health challenges and inequalities exist:

  • Cardiovascular (including cardiac, stroke, renal and diabetes);
  • Maternity, Children and Young People;
  • Mental Health, Dementia and Neurological Conditions
  • Cancer

These are the first four national conditions specific SCNs established.  The expectation is they will bring about:

  •  large scale change across very complex pathways of care involving many professional groups and organisations and improve the approach to planning and delivering services; and
  •  co-ordinated, combined improvement approaches to overcome healthcare challenges, which have not responded previously to other improvement efforts

In this way, the SCNs will:

  • Reduce unwarranted variation in health and well-being services.
  • Encourage innovation in how services are provided now and in the future.
  • Provide clinical advice and leadership to support their decision making and strategic planning.

The Wessex SCNs are working to deliver transformational change in key areas of major health and well-being challenges to improve outcomes and experience for our local population.

Wessex covers a population of 2.8 million people, including the urban and rural areas of Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole, Southampton, Hampshire, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Across Wessex there are nine Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), seven Local Authorities, seventeen District Councils, six Health and Wellbeing Boards, five Health Watch organisations, seven acute hospitals and two Local Resilience Forums.


The Wessex Area Team includes five directorates:

  • Nursing
  • Medical
  • Finance
  • Commissioning
  • Operations & Delivery.

The SCNs and Clinical Senate are part of the medical directorate of NHS England (Wessex). They are non-statutory organisational models, providing advice and support for commissioners.  As such, commissioners remain accountable for the commissioning of NHS services; with providers remaining accountable for service delivery.

The SCNs and Clinical Senate work with their partners to develop and implement a programme of quality improvement, including the effective use of resources.  Accountability for both the Wessex SCNs and Clinical Senate is through the NHS England (Wessex) Medical Director to the Regional Medical Director and the Area Director for NHS England (Wessex). To facilitate this work the SCNs and Clinical Senate are directed by the Oversight and Planning Group (OPG). The Regional Medical Director endorses the annual SCNs and Clinical Senate work-plans, giving delegated authority to them for delivery against these plans. 

The Regional and Area Medical Directors will together:

  • Receive a quarterly accountability report agreed by the OPG, supporting resolution of risks and issues where required.
  • Endorse SCN and Senate recommendations, where required, for local approval and adoption.

Oversight and Planning Group


Our team:

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