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Bringing personalised care to life through commissioning

Commissioners are vital to bringing personalised care to life – but when starting to embed this in your contracts it can seem a large and daunting task. Former commissioner Amanda Hughes, Senior Finance, Contracts and Commissioning Manager for the Personalised Care Group at NHS England and Improvement, talked to us about what she’d focus on now to bring personalised care to life in her area.

As a former commissioner in a CCG, I know that most commissioning teams will be very busy now gearing up for final contract negotiations. As many of you not only work in your CCG area but also live there, this is a really key opportunity to work together to make a difference for your community. Better services mean better experiences and outcomes for you and your families and friends.

Personalised care is a good example of one of the opportunities ready for us to grasp. In a climate of cost-saving and targets, it’s refreshing to focus energies on a really positive approach. The NHS Long Term Plan and the Universal Personalised Care model outlined how personalised care was going to be one of the big changes for the five years.

These documents and the new schedules in the NHS Standard Contract, will help commissioners and providers explain why personalised care is worth investing in: to spend time, energy and commit financial resources to new approaches that are innovative and exciting.

We realise all too well it is not always easy to find the resources and money. Our handbook was published to offer a dip-in-and-out guide to helping commissioners enable change for personalised care in their area. Our top tips for spring this year include:

  1. Incorporate personalised care into every single contract arrangement. This may be small scale, such as expanding a small area of patient choice; or large scale, such as a new offer of personal health budgets, but every service can benefit from its introduction in some form. CCGs can easily commit to this local target.
  2. Start to prioritise your development of personalised care and support plans into long term condition pathways. There has been demonstrated benefits for both people and the system, where people are able to voice what matters to them and have clear plans in place that meet their individual needs. A simple plan and trajectory can help CCGs target the roll out of pathways locally.
  3. Start thinking how we can practically get personalised care off the ground in 2020-21. The task of changing conversations can seem daunting, so we recommend tackling it in chunks. Start small with select cohorts, pilot new approaches in a safe way, or use incentive schemes such as local CQUIN to fund training and pump-prime new approaches.

Our handbook has further details on these approaches. When benefit is demonstrated locally then commissioner and provider will have confidence to roll out further and faster the year after.

Good luck with getting started. Visit our website for helpful resources and do join our Personalised Care Collaborative Network to find more tools and share your progress with colleagues.

Amanda is Senior Finance, Contracts and Commissioning Manager for the Personalised Care Group at NHS England and Improvement.

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