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Editor's blog Thursday 14 October 2010: EXCLUSIVE - Reinventing the prioritisation wheel with the DH National Quality Board

On a day when the abolition of overall government quangos is big news, and the DH quotient is medium-sized news, it is at once amusing, depressing and instructive to see a classic bit of wheel-reinvention under way at the DH's National Quality Board.

Part of the NQB is its prioritisation committee, whose members have been told that the committee will now be disbanding.

It goes on to explain why: "The Committee was originally established to enable the National Quality Board to advise the Department and Ministers on priorities for the NHS, and your advice on the prioritisation analysis has helped us to consider a number of questions about how to drive quality improvement.

"However, as we develop the new NHS Outcomes Framework, it's clear that the role of the Secretary of State in setting priorities for the NHS is changing, and that future arrangements with the new NHS Commissioning Board will drive this in future. Now, therefore, seems the appropriate time to disband the Committee.

"As the NHS Commissioning Board is established, though, it is likely to need similar advice around what to focus on to deliver against the outcomes for which that new Board will be responsible. Therefore, a similar committee may yet need to be convened at that point, so this probably isn't the last word on the kind of discussions that the Committee has been engaged with.

"Many thanks to all of you for the time and thought that you gave as members of the Committee and look forward to seeing you in the future".

Don't you love the jaunty 'see you soon!' bit at the end?

Otherwise, prioritisation in healthcare is not so well-developed that delaying plans for its development and dissemination in this way seems anything other than stupid. The committee is an expenses-only affair - it's not even expensive.

There are opportunity costs in cheap headlines.