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Patients, clinicians and other key stakeholders are being encouraged to give their views on the future of specialised health services, and how they are to be provided by the NHS over the next five years.
NHS England is inviting patients, patient groups, commissioners, clinicians and others to a special event in December as part of its wider ‘Call to Action’ project, which was launched in July, signalling the start of an open and honest debate with the public about the future delivery of NHS services.
Specialised services are those services which are provided from relatively few specialist centres. Conditions treated range from long-term conditions, such as renal (kidney services), mental health care in secure settings and neonatal services, to rarer conditions such as uncommon cancers, burn care, medical genetics, specialised services for children and cardiac surgery.
They are commissioned nationally through 10 of NHS England’s 27 area teams. They account for around £11.8 billion of annual spending, or around 10 per cent of the overall NHS budget.
Feedback from the December scoping event, which is being delivered in partnership with the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, working alongside other key stakeholders, will inform the development of a five year strategy outlining how specialised services are best provided to improve patient experience and outcomes, against a backdrop of financial challenges and rising demand.
James Palmer, who is Clinical Director for Specialised Services and is leading the development of the strategy, said: “We want to hear from as many people as possible over the coming months about their views on the future direction of specialised services.
“The delivery of specialised services involves the whole health system. NHS England is the direct commissioner for the majority of the services, but Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities are also responsible for commissioning parts of the pathway, and delivering, elements of care. Many of the conditions treated in specialised services are highly debilitating, life-long and demand the advice of experts, as well as responsive access to care locally when needed.
“The feedback received from stakeholders will help to inform a five-year plan which will drive forward the promotion of equity and excellence in the commissioning of specialised services, and ensure that patients receive high quality, integrated care, regardless of where they live”.
John Murray, Director of the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 patient organisations, said: “It is vitally important that patients, patient groups, clinicians and others have a sense of ownership of the five year strategy for specialised services. We will use the scoping event in December as a starting point, but there will be lots of other opportunities for people to contribute their thoughts as the strategy develops”.
The scoping event will be held in London on 9 December. Anybody who is interested in being involved in the debate about the future of specialised services and wishes to apply for a place should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places at this event will be limited. However, all those who wish to contribute their views, but cannot attend on the 9th, or fail to secure a place, will have opportunity to provide a written submission. Details of how you can do this will be published on the NHS England and Specialised Healthcare Alliance websites shortly.