Manchester workshop on integration of care

Shelford Group summary and report on integration of care workshop
by Shelford Group
12 Dec 2016

Executives from across the Shelford Group came together in Manchester on 10 November 2016 to share emerging best practice in relation to integration of care and new organisational structures. Case studies were presented on the devolution of health and social care in Greater Manchester, acute hospital collaboration in Birmingham, and integrated hospital and community care for vulnerable patients in South East London. In addition, NHS England presented on the new models of care programme nationally.

During a vibrant exchange of ideas, a number of key themes emerged:

  • The essential role of good governance in overseeing local service change and managing financial risks. This is something that Manchester’s NHS and local government community has spent significant time and effort in getting right, and consequently it is relatively well set up compared to many other STP areas that have not been afforded the same time to put in place robust governance arrangements.
  • The importance of placed-based solutions for local services, with integration across health, social care and other related services, such as education, housing and transport, and how this is best supported where there is a clear sense of identity with a place. However, place-based solutions have limitations too, such as the planning of specialised services which span larger geographies. The regulation of the health service needs to adapt increasingly to align with places, rather than separate organisations, and to recognise the interconnections between local services.
  • The workshop crystallised some of the necessary conditions for successful organisational mergers, including support for senior leaders spanning roles in two organisations; a radically streamlined approach to regulation and reporting; and an ‘open book’ approach to the financial situation of distressed organisations, so that a merging partner understands the nature of the issues to be tackled.
  • There is a need for a reappraisal of the application of competition law in NHS mergers. A lot of time and effort is currently required for NHS foundation trusts to demonstrate that a reduction in local competition is often more than outweighed by the benefits to patients and public expenditure of organising clinical and back office services across a larger area.

Read the summary of the workshop’s finding’s here.

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