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DH plans to transform community services

As of April next year, all Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) should have separated the commissioning of community services from their provision, according to the Department of Health. This is when all staff and services will be transferred to a range of new organisations, such as aspirant Community Foundation Trusts and Social Enterprises, or integrated with existing providers, as part of the Transforming Community Services programme.


The Department says that these new organisations will provide more choice for patients and have a vital role in the transfer of care and treatment from hospital settings to help patients with their recovery or manage their healthcare needs. They will be financially more independent while remaining part of the NHS.


[quote top=Simon Burns, minister of state for health, said:] The proposals we set out in the White Paper aim to put patients at the heart of the NHS, giving them more choice and better control over their care. These changes to community services will enable clinicans to deliver personalised and responsive care and better outcomes for some of the most vulnerable in our society. [/quote]

Simon Burns continued to comment: "Frontline staff will be in the driving seat to improve quality and integrate services to ensure the most effective outcomes for their patients. And there will be further benefits – frontline staff are best placed to provide the most efficient services so that local NHS money goes further. Plans are in place for Social Enterprises to provide almost £900m of services a year a major step towards our ambition to create the largest and most vibrant social enterprise sector in the world.”


It is estimated that 26 per cent of the value of community services that are currently provided by PCTs will, in the future, be provided by Community Foundation Trusts, and a further 10 per cent by Social Enterprises. Both of these models have a strong emphasis on community involvement so that they are truly accountable to patients and led by local decisions.


Ian Dalton, DH managing director of provider development and chief executive of North East SHA, added: "These plans provide firm foundations for transforming these key services and speeding up the transfer of services out of hospitals and in to local communities and people's homes. The range of options chosen – including 16 aspirant Community Foundation Trusts and over 60 Right to Request social enterprises – shows the enthusiasm of local NHS staff for taking control of improving services for patients. These are potential 'hot-beds' of innovation and community engagement – but this is only the beginning. The hard work starts now as boards sign off business transactions and plans are completed, and the NHS gets underway with setting up new organisations. They will be able to empower staff to lead change and transform services and working practices."