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Vascular GIRFT


Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) is a national programme designed to improve the treatment and care of patients through in-depth review of services, benchmarking, and presenting a data-driven evidence base to support change.

The programme undertakes clinically-led reviews of specialties, combining wide-ranging data analysis with the input and professional knowledge of senior clinicians to examine how things are currently being done and how they could be improved.

The GIRFT programme designed to improve medical care within the NHS by reducing unwarranted variations.

By tackling variations in the way services are delivered across the NHS, and by sharing best practice between trusts, GIRFT identifies changes that will help improve care and patient outcomes, as well as delivering efficiencies, such as the reduction of unnecessary procedures, and cost savings.

The programme was first conceived and developed by Professor Tim Briggs to review elective orthopaedic surgery to address a range of observed and undesirable variations in orthopaedics. In the 12 months after the pilot programme, it delivered an estimated £30m-£50m savings in orthopaedic care – predominantly through changes that reduced average length of stay and improved procurement.

The same model has been applied across 40 surgical and medical specialties and other cross-cutting themes (see Workstream section). It consists of five key strands:

  • a broad data gathering and analysis exercise, performed by health data analysts, which generates a detailed picture of current national practice, outcomes and other related factors;
  • direct clinical engagement via visits or virtual meetings between clinical specialists and individual hospital trusts, which are based on the data – providing an unprecedented opportunity to examine individual trust behaviour and performance in the relevant area of practice, in the context of the national picture. This then enables the trust to understand where it is performing well and what it could do better – drawing on the input of senior clinicians;
  • a national report, that draws on both the data analysis and the discussions with the hospital trusts to identify opportunities  for improvement across the relevant services;
  • an implementation phase where the GIRFT team supports trusts, commissioners, and integrated care systems to deliver the improvements recommended; and
  • best practice guidance and support for standardised/integrated patient pathways and elective recovery work in ‘high volume/ low complexity’ specialties.

GIRFT is part of an aligned set of programmes within NHS England.

The programme has the backing of the Royal Colleges and professional associations.

Vascular leads

  • Rachel Bell
  • Jon Boyle


2018 GIRFT Report (Prof Mike Horrocks)