Community providers are well placed to deliver more integrated care with partners across the health and care system. They have demonstrated their role in working with acute hospitals to establish virtual wards; with ambulance trusts to prevent unavoidable hospital admissions and urgent community response services; and with primary care partners to deliver more person-centred care in the community.

And while there is still a long way to go to fully realise the benefits of integration, at a local level, community providers are optimistic about the opportunities presented by working with primary care colleagues. Many have already established integrated neighbourhood teams to deliver more localised care. Community provider leaders continue to express optimism and enthusiasm about the opportunities around neighbourhood teams and the medium-to-long-term ambitions for integrated care.

In order to meaningfully achieve the ambitions of greater integration between primary care and community providers, the sector would benefit from ensuring the potential opportunities of community provision for patients are consistently articulated in national NHS and care policies. The sector also requires appropriate access to national investment, prioritisation and time. This will allow providers to scale up initiatives and improve care for patients in a meaningful and sustainable way.