Steve Sylvester is Head of Specialised Commissioning (NHS England: Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire Area Team).
As the head of NHS England’s specialised commissioning team for the South West Steve is responsible for ensuring all specialised services across the region are of the highest quality no matter where people receive their care, and that people will have rapid access to these specialist services when they need them. However, the team aims to ensure people only spend as much time at a specialised centre as is necessary by linking well with local services to support as much care being provided as close to home as possible.
The team also hopes to prevent people from needing specialised care by working with a variety of partners to promote healthy lifestyle choices and support people with long term conditions to manage these in ways that reduce avoidable hospital admissions. In this way Steve and his team aim to commission the right kind of care at the right time to give people the best chance of great care and good outcomes.
Steve has a wealth of NHS experience, starting as a volunteer substance misuse support worker in 1993 and a six year career supporting the rehabilitation of people with a range of addictions as part of the community mental health team.
Between 2000 and 2003 he worked in a local district hospital supporting service improvement through service redesign, clinical audit, waiting list management and patient access. After this he spent six years leading on contracting and commissioning for a local Primary Care Trust until he joined the South West’s previous Specialised Commissioning Team as an Associate Director of Commissioning in 2009 where he supported and guided the team through the NHS’ transition until NHS England came into effect in April 2013.
During this transition period Steve represented the South West on several of the national Clinical Reference Groups that were tasked with developing the national services specifications and commissioning policies that are currently being implemented across England and continues to support NHS England’s development and success. However, he is keen to ensure that decisions taken by specialised commissioners in the South West reflect the needs and wishes of local people, with ‘collaboration and communication’ words that not only reflect what the team does, but how it does it.