Prof. Maureen Baker CBE, Chair

“As an organisation representing Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, PRSB is committed to developing standards that support heath and care across the UK so that information flows with people regardless of geographical boundaries.” 

Making new connections across health and care

Lockdown taught us all new ways of connecting with one another, but it was with a great sense of relief and excitement in 2021 that we set about rekindling relationships and making new connections across the health and care system.  

Our membership has blossomed as organisations have learned the lessons of the pandemic and developed an appetite for gripping digital transformation. We are intensely proud of the growing membership of PRSB. This growth is testament to the sea-change we are witnessing across the system in relation to digital transformation and we are delighted that so many organisations see the importance of standards and connectivity to the health and care system and recognise the unique role and contribution of PRSB and want to actively support it. The collective voice of our member is recognised, heard and influential.  

Our expanding membership allows us to speak convincingly with the authority of members who span every profession, represent people from hundreds of patient representative groups and the supplier community. Our voice has credibility as PRSB represents everyone who has an interest in how health and social care are delivered. 

Developing UK-wide standards

As an organisation representing Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, PRSB is committed to developing standards that support heath and care across the UK so that information flows with people regardless of geographical boundaries. In 2021 PRSB’s Board re-affirmed our commitment to producing UK-wide standards and we have focussed our efforts on engaging colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at all levels in our work. We’ve made great progress with new members such as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges of Wales, and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges of Scotland. We are collaborating on strategic plans for data and standards development with Digital Health and Care Wales, Scottish Government, Digital Health and Social Care Scotland and the National Care Service in Scotland as well as Digital Health and Care Northern Ireland, and we are delighted with the increased contribution of the devolved nations to standards projects.   

Having influence at the top tables in health and social care across the UK is vital if we are to ensure that digital transformation happens in a way that is consistent with what our members, professionals, people  and suppliers say is important: reducing the burden of data collection on professionals, finding more efficient ways of capturing and sharing information that improves care and saves precious staff time, and providing clarity and consistency for suppliers – rather than constant change and churn. At the same time, we remain determined to maintain the attention to detail our members have come to expect from us and to ensure we are truly reflecting what they want. Our members are the lifeblood of PRSB and I want to thank them for the huge amount they continue to bring and welcome the new ones and hope the experience of working with PRSB is positive and rewarding.  

Our Advisory Board serves as a powerful forum to exchange ideas and gather feedback at a system-wide level. In 2021 the Board discussed strategic plans for digital transformation, the use of data across the health and care system and how to improve clinical digital safety for Scotland and England. Input from the membership is recognised as valuable across the system due to the breadth of disciplines and expertise represented, all united through a focus and commitment to improved health and care information to ensure high quality, integrated care.   

The PRSB has been working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care in England  on the Paterson Inquiry recommendations to involve people more actively in their care and proposed treatments. Working with Advisory Board colleagues we shared these recommendations with our members and the professional and patient groups they represent. 

Seeing familiar colleagues and fresh faces at events this past year has been one of the highlights of 2021. PRSB has had a strong presence at key events throughout the year. Our patient leads on our nursing standards project and diabetes standards project spoke eloquently about the  importance of information sharing from a person’s perspective at Digital Health Rewired in March 2022 and we fielded eminent clinicians and national programme leaders to speak about our standards work in the growing market for smart health tech and wearable devices. Our focus on self-care and people’s role in managing long term conditions was a well-received theme at the Leading Healthcare Innovation Summit in February 2022, as was care planning and our work on the personalised care and support plan standard. We also launched our regular series of events for the Standards Partnership Scheme in 2021 which has become a key forum for NHS system leaders, suppliers and PRSB members to share implementation news, intelligence, feedback and concerns. 

Our People Network Committee this year has supported more people to take on leadership roles in projects and be the voice of service users in all our work. As part of our strategic plans to develop our public engagement we asked people for their views about how we can improve our consultations and engage more people in our work. People told us that sharing information in different formats including films and infographics, easy to read versions and translations would help us grow and diversify our public engagement and PRSB has acted on  their recommendations. We would like to thank RIX Media for helping us to create easy to read versions of our surveys for a range of projects which has helped ensure we are addressing the needs of vulnerable groups who we otherwise might not reach. 

Our people leads on shared decision-making and the diabetes standards created some high impact video materials, which were successful in engaging patients and the public in our work and are serving as models for our future approach to public engagement.  

Building on our expertiseard

In the past year we have enhanced our Board membership and its functions to make sure we have the right representation and ability to deliver against the needs of a changing and growing organisation and in the face of wider system challenges. I want to thank my Board colleagues for their contribution to PRSB’s successes in the past year and excellent progress in 2022.   

We’ve strengthened the depth of our expertise on our Board with new Non-executive Directors in addition to the new executive members of the Board. Charlie McCay is our new Non-Executive Director bringing technical expertise, and he is improving how we work with industry and implementers immeasurably, which is key to the future direction and priorities of the PRSB. We are delighted to welcome our Non-Executive Director with expertise in social care, Claire Sutton. Claire’s credentials in social care are impeccable and within a short time she has made a huge difference, building our relationships with the social care sector. We are looking to make further NED appointments in 2022 and it is a mark of our growing success and reputation that such talented people are keen to lend their expertise and support to PRSB.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Non-Executive Directors who have stepped down in the past year for their unparalleled contribution to PRSB over many years.   

  • Laszlo Igali, a clinical pathologist and early supporter of PRSB as long serving NED stood down. He contributed hugely to our work to develop a strategy for standards on pathology. 
  • Dr Philip Scott, a lecturer in health care informatics and long serving NED and early supporter of PRSB stood down. Philip was key to developing our healthtech expertise.  
  • Marlene Winfield, a founding NED with a special interest in people and patients stood down this June. Marlene was always the conscience of end user views and kept us on the straight and narrow.  

We bid a sad farewell to Mala Bridgelal-Ram who passed away last December. Mala worked very closely with Professor Iain Carpenter – our first Chair and original visionary who recognised the need for ‘the PRSB’. Mala worked alongside Iain to make the ideas reality – they were a great partnership combining Iain’s passion and vision with Mala’s calm common sense and determination to make things better.  I’m sure Iain would say it couldn’t have happened without her.   

A nurse by background, Mala had a master’s degree in health informatics and research experience, and joined the Health Informatics Unit (HIU) at the Royal College of Physicians at the very start of the record standards programme. She was dedicated to the cause of improving care for people which, to this day, is reflected in the methodology used in developing care record standards. Mala put her all into creating the PRSB and setting it on the road to what it has become today, I hope she would be proud. Some of us will remember her personally, as a fantastic colleague and wonderful friend. All of us should remember what she achieved. 

Looking forward, we are increasing our profile with the media because people realise the importance of sharing their care records to improve the quality and safety of their care and they want and need to know that PRSB is fulfilling this role. Similarly, we are raising our profile with key influential parliamentarians and public bodies. I’m delighted to be involved in a new and exciting initiative – the NHS Innovation and Life Science Commission inquiry into health data which will report to government in the autumn on how to best use data for research and innovation to improve care while safeguarding the interests of people and professionals. By ensuring the voices of professionals and people who use services are reflected, PRSB will contribute powerfully to improvement in health and care for years to come.