The NHS is going through significant change, with the Health and Care Act 2022 having received Royal Assent and formally establishing statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across the NHS.
In line with the expectations in the NHS Long-Term Plan and the Health and Care Act 2022, every acute (non-specialist) and mental health NHS Trust and Foundation Trust will be part of at least one provider collaborative, enabling them to integrate services and take collective action with local partners at place and to strengthen the resilience, efficiency and quality of services delivered at scale, including across multiple ICSs.
These provider collaboratives are positioned as a key component of the ICS architecture with borough-based partnerships as the building blocks where the NHS works closely with local authority and other partners to help people stay healthy, improve outcomes and address health inequalities.
Although the emerging shape of these collaborations varies across the ICSs the Trusts work in, ensuring the voice of mental health and community health service users, patients and services is strong and effective in all ICSs is an essential part of helping to deliver both Trusts’ strategy.
The two Trusts have a strong track record of collaboration in North East London (NEL) with a focus on out of hospital collaboration across mental health and community health working to improve services at borough and neighbourhood level.
Both Trusts provide services in the East of England. In Bedfordshire, ELFT has been working in the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) ICS on the development of the Bedfordshire Care Alliance (BCA) where the focus has been on a cross-sector provider collaboration across acute and community and mental health services
NELFT is working as part of the Mid and South Essex Community Collaborative to reduce variation for patients across mid and south Essex and is exploring arrangements in Kent to support improvements to children’s mental health services and all-age eating disorder services care pathways.
Both Trusts support collaborative and partnership arrangements as active partners in the ICSs and local borough partnerships in both the East of England and North East London and are ambitious to deliver more together for the populations they serve. The appointment of a Joint Chair is an important step towards achieving this ambition.