The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers have joined forces to establish the Community Network. It will aim to be an effective and influential voice for the community services sector.
The network will make the case for community services to play a leading role in the development of integrated systems, and for sufficient funding and investment to be made available to support ambitions to strengthen community services. It will also have a strong emphasis on promoting the link between community services and the rest of the health and care system, including primary care and social care services.
NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation believe community services have a more prominent role to play in the move to deliver more integrated care for the public. Community services have more than 100 million contacts with patients every year, and there are 136 NHS providers registered to deliver community health services, with more than 45,000 community nurses and health visitors and 16,000 community psychiatry staff.
In 2016/17 almost 65,000 mental health patients were seen by community teams before being admitted to hospital.
In an article for the Health Service Journal, community services trust chief executive Matthew Winn discusses the importance of a single unified voice for community services.