Consultation response

Community Network submission to the House of Lords integration of primary and community care committee

The Community Network, which is jointly hosted by NHS Providers and NHS Confederation, has submitted written evidence to the House of Lords.

23 May 2023

Read our evidence (PDF) External link icon

The key themes in the submission include:

  • The main challenges facing primary and community health services.
  • Barriers preventing improved integration, and how these might be overcome.
  • Implications of the government's long-term workforce plan for the NHS on primary and community care staffing.
  • How successful have primary care networks been in facilitating joined up working between primary and community care provision, and other parts of the system?
  • The benefits of improved access to out of hours and 24/7 services.
  • To what extent have integrated care systems been able to deliver the aims they were set up to achieve?
  • How existing infrastructure could be enhanced to improve the use of health technologies and possible benefits for patients.
  • One key recommendation to enable effective and efficient integration in the delivery of primary and community care services.

The Community Network, the national voice of community providers hosted by the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers, is responding to this House of Lords inquiry into the integration of primary and community care on behalf of community provider leaders, referencing, where appropriate, the overlapping challenges that are also experienced by colleagues in primary care.

Key points

  • Community provider leaders are optimistic about the potential for greater integration across primary and community services.
  • At a local level, many community providers are working closely with primary care colleagues to explore ways to enhance integration, including by delivering care through integrated neighbourhood teams.
  • Improved integration between community and primary care can bring significant benefits, including less duplication, more joined up services for patients and more opportunities to work and train in different care settings for staff.
  • However, community provider leaders report some significant barriers to further integration. These include staff shortages in both community and primary care and challenges sharing data across sectors.
  • Underlying this, there is a need for greater investment in, and prioritisation of, community health services. This would support a more preventative model of care, alleviating pressures on the acute hospital sector and importantly enable greater integration between community and primary care, in turn supporting more people to stay well and independent in the community

You can access the NHS Confederation's submission . On 20 March 2023, Fiona Claridge, Assistant Director of London and South East, who ovesees the work of our Community Network, gave oral evidence to the committee.