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STPs must develop collaboration with partners to help support emerging Integrated Care Systems

By Mark Girvan – NECS Operational Delivery Manager

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) have been encouraging providers and commissioners to work closely together with local authorities in a bid to change how care is delivered.  The overall aim of this is to improve health and care for patients by integrating services as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV).

The FYFV Next Steps document indicated that designated areas will be supported to become Integrated Care Systems (ICS).  Groups of commissioners, providers and local authorities will take collective responsibility for managing resources, quality improvement and population health, enabling them to deliver faster improvements in services.

NECS already supports system-wide working applying national and international best practice to underpin our approach and support population-based decision making and transformation.

Our Regional Delivery Programme has successfully aligned 14 cohesive work streams across more than 20 NHS organisations in the North East and North Cumbria. Within this it has supported STPs with a number of shared work programmes, including the Urgent and Emergency Care Network vanguard, regional QIPP, medicines optimisation programmes, and joint commissioning arrangements for ambulance services.

Integrated Care Systems have been introduced elsewhere in the world as a means to meeting demand for health and social care services more effectively, and in so doing getting a better return on investment whilst improving outcomes for patients. Building upon an existing relationship developed over a period of years, NECS has entered into a formal partnership arrangement with one of the most successful of these systems; Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), New Zealand and its strategic partner, Streamliners New Zealand Limited (SNZ) together with one of their first UK delivery partners, NHS South Tyneside CCG.

CDHB is responsible for planning, organising, purchasing and providing health and care services for the largest and most highly populated region of New Zealand’s South Island.  Like other health systems around the world, Canterbury has been struggling with growing demand for hospital care in the context of an ageing population.

The aim of NECS’ partnership with Streamliners New Zealand Limited (SNZ) and The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is to share knowledge and capability with other organisations committed to improving the effectiveness of health and social care services through collaboration, integration and patient centred design.  The learning will draw upon precious expertise from across the Canterbury system which has been on a 10 year journey applying a whole-of-system approach to the provision of integrated health and social care.

Canterbury’s progress in reducing demand for acute hospital services is a striking example of what can be achieved in a health and care system that, in terms of construct and challenges, bears uncanny resemblance to that of the English system.  The model is a powerful illustration of what is possible when all parts of a health and social care system come together with a common purpose and shared vision to improve the health of the population they serve.

This agreement comes on the back of Canterbury’s contributions to work already underway with NHS South Tyneside CCG and the South Tyneside Alliance where the health and care system is being transformed with their guidance, mentorship and technical support. This attempt to transport the learning from New Zealand to the UK is already starting to show real signs of improvement in terms of shifting care out of hospital and closer to home.

The expertise of CDHB and Streamliners combined with the experience of the South Tyneside Alliance underpins the NECS offer to support emerging Integrated Care Systems. This offer spans from the initial diagnostic of a systems preparedness to embark upon their accountable care journey, development of system leadership, the information revolution to drive population health management, risk stratification and predictive modelling of future demand, all the way through to the empowerment and activation of patients and communities to take greater ownership of and responsibility for their own health and well-being.

CDHB and NECS are starting the partnership off with initiatives to accelerate and share knowledge across both organisations.  The first phase of this knowledge and skills exchange will commence in early 2018.

Understanding how Canterbury DHB implemented new ways of working is relevant to any system looking to work in a more integrated way, including those developing Integrated Care Systems.

NECS is part of the NHS and is very proud to be so. Over the last 5 years our people have been preparing for a new approach to the commissioning and provision of health and care services – an approach we now know as ‘integrated care’. We have been rapidly enhancing our capability, innovating to find new solutions,  reaching out to learn from others who have been there before us and building new, long term partnerships with our customers such that NECS becomes part of their system family. Our partnership with Canterbury District Health Board, Streamliners and the South Tyneside Alliance lifts us to another level where our enthusiasm, ambition and excitement can now be translated into real, positive, sustainable change for patients, staff and communities.

Contact us to see how we can support your organisation with system-wide working to develop new models of care.

Tel: 0191 301 1300