Health and care partnerships across England are set to benefit from a major new NHS Confederation initiative aiming to galvanise learning and engagement among sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and integrated care systems (ICSs).
A new regional team will work with system leaders over the coming months to identify how best to support peer learning and spread good practice on integration.
It will also create opportunities to influence national policy and thinking.
The setting up of the regional team comes in response to extensive engagement with system leaders, and will complement existing support from national bodies and other stakeholders.
The organisation is appointing seven regional engagement managers to cover London, the North East, North West, Midlands, South East and South West.
The team will provide a stronger and more direct link between members and the Confederation, acting as a conduit to transmit messages and concerns to national bodies.
"Our new regional team is an exciting addition to the NHS Confederation and have a vital role to play both in supporting our members and encouraging reform throughout the health and care system in England," Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said on Tuesday (4 September).
“This is a great opportunity for us to support local leaders in bringing services together and providing them with an independent platform to share learning.
“We know that the problems facing our health service do not start and end in hospitals or GP surgeries. They are interlinked with a wider environment that spans right across health, local government and beyond."
Joining up the dots
Mr Dickson added: “We want to support our members and system leaders helping them to share ideas, and forge new relationships. We also believe the new team will be a key vehicle for transmitting messages to the centre, informing our work nationally and helping to shape the messages the NHS Confederation relays to government and the arm's-length bodies.
“We know that STPs and ICSs are ideally placed to bring a wide audience together to make an impact, but they need to have the right support in place. We want to be able to help provide them with an independent, safe space in which they can do that, airing and sharing the challenges they face, spreading ideas and looking together at possible ways forward.
“The interdependence of health and care is now well understood, yet we are still struggling to join up the dots in many parts of the country. We need to provide space for people to come together to create the right environment for people to work together effectively across primary, secondary, community and local government.”
Find out more about the regional team.
Read Niall Dickson's article in the Health Service Journal: Why integration must not be dismissed as a fad.
Attend the launch event
The NHS Confederation is holding three launch events across the country.
If you're an STP/ICS lead, programme directors, chairs, clinical leads, Local government representatives and communications directors, book your free place for the launch event in London.