Health providers explore options to formally join together
The boards of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust have confirmed that, alongside their regulators and governors, they will explore options to formally join together.
The move is being described as a ‘natural progression’ of the vision of the two organisations and broader system to join up healthcare for patients, and will also improve efficiency by reducing duplication and bureaucracy. It follows news last month that North Cumbria Health and Care System has been confirmed as one of the national pilots for integrated care and is being described by regulators as one of the most rapidly improving systems.
The two trusts have had the same chief executive since 1st September 2017 and have already taken a number of steps to join up their work which includes:
Joining up services for patients across organisational boundaries
- Patients are already spending less time in hospital when they are medically fit to be discharged with a 22% reduction patients delayed leaving hospital since January 2018. Measures put in place include daily reviews of patient flow by system leaders and a hospital to home project which provides a bridging service between health and social care until a care package is put in place. Other examples include home first which helps people at A&E to go home with support rather than be admitted and the delirium service which identifies people in hospital experiencing delirium earlier which is much better for the patient and reduces their overall length of stay.
Joining up support services
- Establishing joint support services is reducing duplication & bureaucracy and supporting learning from each other in taking forward a joint approach for example; in recruitment and supporting our workforce, procurement, estates and Information Technology.
Establishing a joint executive team, joint non-executive director and a single board meeting
- A transitional joint executive team is in place with a single executive director for each directorate (with the exception of the medical directorate). From April 2018, the two trusts now share one public board meeting and made their first joint non-executive director appointment. This means there will be a better understanding of what each Trust is doing resulting in a more streamlined approach to deliver the best services across Cumbria. It will also help improve decision making across the health and care system by working closer together and help with cost efficiencies. Establishing the joint executive team alone has saved £336,000 per annum.
- Collectively the two organisations have successfully saved £18 million during 2017/18.
The two trusts will now explore formal ways to unite using guidance from the NHS Improvement on undertaking transactions with the ambition of doing so in 2019.
Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of both organisations said:
“We have quite quickly taken a number of steps to join up our work where it makes sense to do so and we are already starting to see the benefit of these now for our patients and staff in some areas. Exploring ways to formally join our organisations now is natural progression that will fully remove organisational boundaries to make iteasier for our staff to work together for the benefit of patients.”
Stephen Eames is also the health leader for the newly established North CumbriaHealth and Care System which was announced as a national pilot earlier last month.It is hoped that the move will then pave the way to join up all health and care services across north Cumbria on a larger scale.
“It is our ambition to join up all health and care services provided across Cumbria and ensure we provide more care in our communities through our integrated care communities.We know that there is national confidence in our plans through our allocation of significant amounts of capital investment in West Cumberland Hospital and the Cancer Centre at Cumberland Infirmary, and in our confirmation as a national integrated care system we are being described as the ‘most rapidly improving system.’ I know there is still a lot to do but I’m confident that this is the next step to moving towards our vision of a happier, more healthier population.
Cumbria Partnership still provides a number of services on a countywide footprint and although we have started a process to look at the future of these services, we will only make changes to this if it is the right thing to do for our patients.”
The Trusts will now work with NHS Improvement and governors of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) to ensure they follow the correct process laid out by NHS Improvement.
Further information is available on the CPFT website.