Welcome to the fourth publication in our Provider voices series, in which we highlight the views of senior leaders on the key issues facing the NHS today. We hope the series will make a valuable contribution to discussions on how health and care services can respond to challenges ahead and how the NHS can implement its new long term plan effectively.
Our topic in this publication is Community services: Our time. The NHS long term plan puts community services, along with primary care, at the heart of its ambition to ensure patients receive care closer to home, to place greater emphasis on prevention and to deliver genuinely integrated care. So, the question of whether community services will receive the national focus they deserve has never been more relevant.
We have interviewed 10 leaders from across the health and care sector with representatives from acute, mental health, ambulance and community trusts alongside national commentators, and voices from social care, primary care and integrated care systems to explore the opportunities and risks presented by this transformation.
National NHS leaders have often promised to give greater emphasis to community services, making them more central and allocating greater investment. Will this now happen? As our interviewees set out, there is optimism amongst frontline leaders. However, there are some big challenges to address too: securing the right workforce, adapting to new technologies and ways of working, and changing national perceptions of how patients best access services and are supported closer to home.
We are grateful to the leaders who took the time to contribute to this publication. And we would like to thank Helen Crump for carrying out the interviews.
Chief Executive, NHS Providers