Voice of community services strengthened by new network
11 May 2018
A new network has been launched to represent the community services sector and forge better links with the rest of health and social care.
The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers have joined forces to establish the Community Network. It will aim to be an effective and influential voice for the community services sector.
The network will make the case for community services to play a leading role in the development of integrated systems, and for sufficient funding and investment to be made available to support ambitions to strengthen community services. It will also have a strong emphasis on promoting the link between community services and the rest of the health and care system, including primary care and social care services.
The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, said:
"Community health services are a vital and often overlooked part of our health care system. If the NHS is to survive and thrive these services will have to play an even greater role in the years ahead as we provide more care in patient’s own homes and reduce the huge rise in demand for hospital care.
Our new Community Network will be an effective, articulate and influential national voice for the sector.
"Our new Community Network will be an effective, articulate and influential national voice for the sector. It will make sure that the potential of these services is understood and that both nationally and locally that this potential is realised for the millions of patients who rely on them every day.”
The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson added:
"The drive to deliver more integrated care for the public offers a great opportunity to develop community services and put them centre stage. For too long these vital services have been overlooked and they have not been prioritised at a national or local level. This has to change and now is the time to put community health services and the prevention agenda at the heart of our health and care system.
"Our new network will support community services and work with them to focus on key policy issues that enable the delivery of high quality community care.”
Our new network will support community services and work with them to focus on key policy issues that enable the delivery of high quality community care.
NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation believe community services have a more prominent role to play in the move to deliver more integrated care for the public. Community services have more than 100 million contacts with patients every year, and there are 136 NHS providers registered to deliver community health services, with more than 45,000 community nurses and health visitors and 16,000 community psychiatry staff.
In 2016/17 almost 65,000 mental health patients were seen by community teams before being admitted to hospital.
Matthew Winn, chair of the Community Network, writes for the HSJ on why it is important for the new network, set up by NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation to provide a unified voice for community health providers.