The National Spinal Taskforce is a group commissioned by Sir Bruce Keogh to advise on the commissioning of spinal services. It includes representatives from The British Orthopaedic Association (and associated Spinal Societies including: The British Association of Spine Surgeons, The British Scoliosis Society and The Society for Back Pain Research), The Society of British Neurological Surgeons, The British Pain Society, British Society of Skeletal Radiologists, The Royal College of Surgeons, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, The Specialist Orthopaedic Alliance, The Department of Health, Public Health, Specialised Commissioners and the Orthopaedic Expert Working Group that advises on Payment by Results.

In March 2010 the Spinal Taskforce produced its first report, (DH Gateway Ref.138852) aimed at supporting commissioners in the delivery of high quality spinal services while also meeting the 18 week referral to treatment waiting time (RTT) target. The decision by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh in April 2011, to support this new piece of work by the Spinal Taskforce has enabled it to formulate advice aimed at guiding the NHS and the new NHS Commissioning Board in the creation of nationally coordinated specialised commissioning for specialist spinal services and to guide local commissioners in managing the more common spinal problems.

The purpose of the Review is to identify the current provision and future need for specialised and non-specialised spinal surgery and to identify where current practice is at odds with published guidance. It will identify the geographical variation in current service provision and the inequalities of access to specialised surgery including a review of recommended models of service provision. The report contains an overview of national level data and the appendices include four SHA Cluster Profiles highlighting key data such as waiting times.

John Carvell
Chair of the Spinal Taskforce
Emeritus Consultant Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgeon
British Orthopaedic Association