Professor Matthew Cripps, national director of NHS RightCare, explains how a number of roles, including the role of knowledge management facilitator, will give you the opportunity to work at the forefront of the NHS Improvement programme

Professor Matthew Cripps is a chartered accountant and was an NHS director of finance before he moved into change management. In addition to his NHS career, Matthew is emeritus professor of population healthcare improvement at the University of Salford, and was previously professor of business processing and knowledge transfer at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

About NHS RightCare

NHS RightCare is a leading national NHS England supported programme that focusses on improving population healthcare in a way that contributes to the financial sustainability of the NHS. This is a key priority of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, with delivery being driven through regional teams.

NHS RightCare has three components:


Through the use of data, including local health economies spend data, patient admissions and prescribing data, along with other evidence – NHS RightCare Intelligence shines a light on variation and performance. This well packaged data identifies areas of greatest opportunity and support for quality improvement. This information is transcribed into a range of comprehensive data packs and online tools to act as a source of insight which supports local health economies to have local discussions to agree a starting point for change.


NHS RightCare works in partnership with a wide range of organisations, national programmes and patient groups to develop and test new concepts and influence policy.

Examples of NHS RightCare’s current work include contributing to the national Nursing Strategy; developing national thinking on medicines optimisation with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Care Quality Commission; and testing and proving concepts around patient and clinician shared decision making.

NHS RightCare does this by bringing together regional and national leaders, patients and other key stakeholders to understand local priorities, drive best practice and launch further action.


The NHS RightCare team supports local health economies to adopt the NHS RightCare approach as “the way we do things around here”. NHS RightCare has a proven three stage systematic, evidence based methodology, of “where to look”, “what to change” and “how to change” process to service redesign and prioritisation. It is helping many local health economies make sustainable change to improve their population’s health whilst making the best investment decisions.

Why is there a major expansion of the RightCare programme now? 

NHS RightCare is a proven approach and over the last three years has evidenced that it delivers better patient outcomes and frees up funds for further innovation. 

The ambition is for NHS RightCare to become the “business as usual” way of carrying out evidence based and clinically engaged change. It should replace, rather than add to existing efforts. As such, the NHS RightCare programme is recognised as a flagship programme for the future change in the way the NHS combats variation.

It has been known for some time that there are wide variations in many aspects of healthcare, not just in the NHS but in healthcare systems around the world. In the UK media, the occurrence of variation is often referred to as the “postcode lottery”. This means that in some parts of the country more people may receive a certain intervention, such as cataract surgery, than people living in another part of the country. 

But there are several types of variation: in some cases, there are good reasons for variation, but in other cases the reasons for variation can be more difficult to justify – and it is this type of variation that offers opportunities for improvement.

A reduction in all types of unwarranted variation will increase value for individual patients and for populations, ensuring that the right people are given the right care in the right place at the right time – all whilst making the best use of available but finite resources across the health service. Supporting local and national delivery of this is the aim of NHS RightCare.

Case study – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Pathway

The COPD Pathway defines the core components of an optimal service for people with COPD.

The NHS RightCare Pathway for COPD has been developed in collaboration with NHS England’s national clinical director for respiratory services, the British Lung Foundation, the British Thoracic Society, Respiratory Futures, the Primary Care Respiratory Society, and the National COPD Audit Programme. 

The pathway provides a national case for change and a set of resources to support local health economies to concentrate their improvement efforts where there is greatest opportunity to address variation and improve population health. The resources in the pathway also draw on a range of other national guidance and contain examples of best practice from across England to help make change on the ground.

The pathway contains a number of key messages for commissioners and to emphasise their importance when using this product they are included here:

Commissioners responsible for COPD for their population should:

  • Focus on the key components for COPD care across a system;
  • Ensuring early detection with accurate diagnosis;
  • Optimising long term management to reduce exacerbations, hospital admissions and premature mortality;
  • Work across the system to ensure that all priorities to optimisation are in place including the cross cutting themes;
  • Multidisciplinary supportive care approach;
  • Signposting and care navigation;
  • Psychological support, including for frightening breathlessness;
  • Community activation to overcome social isolation and stay physically active, including peer support;
  • Self management plan supported by good information and patient training.

For the full case study, please click here

How will this advance your career?

By working for NHS RightCare, you will be heavily involved in all aspects of the improvement agenda. This means that, whatever your professional background, working in any capacity for NHS RightCare will increase your knowledge of the whole system and how each component and perspective can best support improvement of population healthcare. This is arguably unique to the organisation and prepares you for future progression in a way that other roles cannot.

You will be working at the forefront of the NHS Improvement programme and a key priority for the Five Year Forward View, building on your exposure and understanding across the whole NHS system. 

In addition, the profile of NHS RightCare is high, on the frontline, regionally and nationally and, as such, is an excellent platform to achieve your future ambitions and also gives you access to senior strategic leaders across boundaries with the ability to help them shape the future direction of their organisation to deliver the best outcome for their health economy.

Click here to find out more about the roles of:

  • Delivery partners and head of business process;
  • Knowledge management facilitator;
  • Programme managers – southern region and delivery fieldwork support – north west; 
  • Business process leads and regional product development and implementation leads.