New guidance on provider collaboratives welcome but outstanding questions remain
10 August 2021
- NHS England and NHS Improvement has published a new guidance document on provider collaboratives.
- This guidance sets out expectations for how trusts should work together at scale within integrated care systems (ICSs).
Responding to the publication of a new guidance document on provider collaboratives by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers Miriam Deakin said:
"Trust leaders will welcome today's publication of new guidance on provider collaboratives, which offers further clarity on the role of collaboratives within ICSs.
"We particularly welcome the renewed emphasis on providers' role in driving transformation and recovery within local health and care systems, following the success of mutual aid and other collaborative working arrangements before and during the COVID-19 response.
"The guidance offers much needed flexibility for providers to lead the development of collaborative arrangements, including their membership and shared goals.
"Looking to the future, we are calling on NHS England and NHS Improvement to ensure the ambition of flexibility carries through into implementation. This is vital to ensure existing joint working arrangements are not unnecessarily disrupted.
While we should rightly be optimistic about what provider collaboratives can achieve, we must also be realistic in our expectations.Director of Policy and Strategy
"While we should rightly be optimistic about what provider collaboratives can achieve, we must also be realistic in our expectations. We should not expect provider collaboratives to be a silver bullet for every challenge the health service is facing, such as longstanding financial and workforce pressures.
"We continue to encourage NHS England and NHS Improvement to recognise the benefits and opportunities for all trust types, including community providers, of working collaboratively at scale.
"Outstanding questions also remain over what mutual accountability between providers within each collaborative will look like in practice, how the relationship between the integrated care body and collaboratives will play out, and whether trusts will be sufficiently resourced so that they are able to service ICS, place and provider collaborative arrangements.
"We will continue to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and our members to ensure trusts are appropriately supported as provider collaboratives develop."