NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives: specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services

NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives creates a shift in the approach to commissioning specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services. Our collective focus is on the health of local populations, understood through outcomes, experience and the delivery of transformation in pathways of care. Our ambition through NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives is to ensure that people with specialist mental health, learning disability and autism needs experience high quality, specialist care, as close to home as appropriately possible, which is connected with local teams and support networks. NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives are seeking to enable specialist care to be provided in the community to prevent people being in hospital if they don’t need to be and to enable people to leave hospital when they are ready.

NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives for specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services mark a new era for how all NHS services will work together in future as set out in Integrating Care. Building on the success of New Care Models for tertiary mental health services, NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives are demonstrating the benefits of local collaborative working to drive improvements in patient outcomes and experience. NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives are bringing a much needed focus on tackling inequalities for their local population and increasing the voice of people with lived experience in improving the quality of care provided.

Watch this short animation, also available in plain English, to find out more about NHS-led Provider Collaboratives.

See here for a list of live NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives across the country

Background to NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives

As detailed in the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan, an NHS-Led Provider Collaborative is a group of providers of specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services who have agreed to work together to improve the care pathway for their local population. They will do this by taking responsibility for the budget and pathway for their given population. The Collaborative will be led by an NHS Provider. The Lead Provider remains accountable to NHS England and NHS Improvement for the commissioning of high-quality, specialised services.

To begin with, NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives will deliver:

  • Children and Young People Mental Health inpatient services (CYPMHS)
  • Adult Low and Medium Secure Services
  • Adult Eating Disorder Services.

NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives will include providers from a range of backgrounds, including the voluntary sector, other NHS trusts and independent sector providers. Provider Collaboratives will work closely with established partnerships called Integrated Care Systems, which include NHS organisations, local councils and others, to support improved commissioning of services for people within the same population footprint. They will also work alongside service users, carers and families.

There are key principles which underpin the Provider Collaborative model:

  • Collaboration between Providers and across local systems
  • Experts by Experience and clinicians leading improvements in care pathways
  • Managing resources across the collaborative to invest in community alternatives and reduce inappropriate admissions/care away from home
  • Working with local stakeholders
  • Improvements in quality, patient experience and outcomes driving change
  • Advancing equality for the local population

We want health and care systems to plan for NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives to become the vehicle for delivering all appropriate specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services over the next five years. Systems will align with service reviews in adult secure and CYPMHS specialised services, fulfil the NHS Long Term Plan inpatient ambitions for people with learning disabilities and autism, and roll out specialist community forensic teams.

Case studies

Read the following blogs and case studies to find out how NHS-Led Provider Collaboratives are helping to transform specialised mental health services: