Community Network: New ten year plan must put community services front and centre


The new NHS ten year plan must succeed where previous initiatives have failed and finally put community services front and centre of improving care for the public.

Key priorities of the forthcoming NHS plan must be the acceleration of integrated care and the spread of a community based model to manage population health and care, according to the Community Network.

A letter to NHS England and NHS Improvement (see attachment) has been written by Matthew Winn, chair of the Community Network, which has been established by the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers.

The letter, addressed to NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens and NHS Improvement Chief Executive Ian Dalton, calls for the 10 year plan to accelerate changes to how people access health and care services and offer more integrated care.

It adds that the NHS Confederation-commissioned report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s said it is likely we will need to double acute hospital provision over the next 15 years to meet growing demand if there’s not more care in the community and closer to people’s homes.

Over nine in ten trust chairs and chief executives told a recent NHS Providers survey that community services have received less national-level focus and attention than other sectors. This is just one of the barriers to the expansion of care in community.

Mr Winn adds:

“Ultimately we need to do something different.

“The letter calls on NHS Improvement and NHS England to develop the detail underpinning a model for community health services, and a strategy for its spread across the country through sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems.

“The community based approach adopted by a number of vanguard projects and wider integration projects across the country has proven to be successful. As the NAO has reported, these models achieved a slower growth rate of hospital emergency admissions.”

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