• CCG says the integrated workforce will “help support the vanguard accountable care system”
  • Southern Health staff will become employees of Frimley Health from 1 January
  • Southern Health says the financial impact “will not affect our ability to deliver other services effectively”

A vanguard foundation trust is preparing to take over the provision of community services from Southern Health FT next month to improve the integration of services.

Frimley Health FT is preparing to take over the contract for adult community services in north east Hampshire, worth £5.89m, for a “pilot” period of 12 months.

The move has been agreed by the boards of Southern Health, Frimley Health, and North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, according to a statement from the CCG.

It added: “All of the CCG’s community services will be subject to re-procurement in the future and the adult community health services will be included in this process”.

The move supports the CCG’s primary and acute care system vanguard programme. It will also support the future development of an accountable care system, the CCG said.

The CCG statement said: “It is important to be clear that no services or staff are at risk as a result of this transfer. This is about finding better ways to work together and removing unnecessary red tape that can sometimes get in the way of doing what’s best for patients.”

Southern Health adult community services staff, including district nurses, rapid response teams, community physiotherapy, occupational therapy and staff at the Fleet Hospital inpatient unit, will become employees of Frimley Health from 1 January. The transfer will not include children’s services, which will remain part of Southern Health.

“This will enable a closer working relationship between hospital and community services,” the CCG said.

A Southern Health spokesman said: “This transfer is the right thing to do because it opens up possibilities for further collaboration which can only really be achieved when part of the same NHS trust.

“We have robust plans to ensure that the transfer happens smoothly, and that the financial impact will not affect our ability to deliver other services effectively.”

Affected staff will be based at the same locations and will continue to look after patients as before. Existing contact and referral routes for patients will not change.

Earlier this year CCGs in Surrey decided to procure community services separately rather than collectively.

The CCGs include Guildford and Waverley CCG, which has issued an invitation to tender for a contract of approximately £20m a year for 10 years, starting in April 2017 and North West Surrey CCG, which has launched a procurement exercise for a five year contract worth £101m in total. Surrey Downs and East Surrey CCGs’ existing community health contracts are also due to run out over in 2018 and 2017 respectively.