Invited service reviews

Invited service reviews offer consultancy services to healthcare organisations that require independent and external advice.

Introduction and background

The Invited Reviews service was formed in 1998 and offers consultancy services to healthcare organisations on which they may require independent and external advice. Reviews provide an opportunity to healthcare organisations to deal with issues and concerns at an early stage. The main reasons why reviews are requested are due to the following:

  • Clinical practices and the delivery of care
  • Patient safety concerns
  • Increased mortality rates/’red flags’ in national data
  • Concerns around adherence to national guidelines
  • Workload and capacity issues
  • Individual behaviours/team working
  • Governance
  • Provision of medicine in merging Trust’s/Health Board’s or in small/isolated medical units.
Invited Service

When and how can a review help?

Medical directors (MDs) or chief executive officers (CEOs) of healthcare organisations can request an invited review when they feel the practice of clinical medicine is compromised and there are potential concerns over patient safety. Fellows and members of the RCP may request an invited review, subject to agreement with their Trust/Health Board management.

By dealing with problems at an early stage, healthcare organisations are able to demonstrate a proactive and open approach to reviewing concerns at an earlier stage and may help to reassure regulators such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC)General Medical Council (GMC)Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW)Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) or the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). It may also help establish whether the concerns have reached the threshold of involvement of the regulator.

By the nature of the issues involved, each invited review is unique. We wish to ensure that the reviews are open and fair to all. The RCP Invited Reviews service is delivered in line with the principles set out in the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) framework of operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare.

Request an invited review

If you are a medical director or chief executive of a healthcare organisation and wish to request an invited review, please download and complete the proforma form and return to

Download our service review request proforma
Invited Service Reviews Image

Types of invited reviews

The RCP can offer the following reviews, and, in some circumstances, these can be combined to help address the terms of reference for the review. For example, a clinical record review may form part of a service review, looking at a series of index and/or a random selection of cases to give the review team a better understanding of pathways:

  • Single clinical record review - Independent expert opinion on the management of a specific case/complaint/serious incident
  • Multiple clinical record review - Reviewing a series of cases due to specific concerns or providing assurance of a pathway(s)
  • Service Review (usually combined with a clinical record review) - Looking at pathways, team working, leadership, planning, governance, and workforce
  • Individual review (usually combined with a clinical record review) - Identifying whether there is a case to answer regarding potential unsatisfactory clinical practice of an individual consultant physician.

Learning from invited reviews

The RCP Invited Reviews service has gained a wealth of experience dealing with demanding situations involving individuals, teams, departments and services. We have recently published our learning from invited reviews report. It brings together our experiences across multiple specialities, identifying common themes and crystallising some of our generic findings, which we hope will prove useful to all in clinical leadership roles.

Learning from Invited Reviews report July 2022

Further information

To find out more, please download the leaflet or the relevant request form, or contact us by email at or phone on +44 (0)20 3075 2383.