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System alignment

Practical Commissioning's Jargon Buster explains the meaning of the term 'System alignment'.

This refers to local health services working collectively to improve population health. The NHS Next Stage Review and the NHS Constitution have clarified that the NHS is a system, not an organisation, and that therefore the wider system needs to be aligned around the same goal to drive up quality.

According to the NHS Operating Framework 2009/10, ‘system alignment' is a key factor in making quality happen in NHS services. It puts a particular emphasis on joint planning and partnership working with local authorities. System alignment will also be about the NHS and local authority partnerships working across several areas, including commissioning ‘comprehensive health and wellbeing services' according to local needs and the Prevention Package for Older People. This has a particular focus on maximising health and independence through telecare, falls prevention services and other services.