Community trusts should play a key role in delivering the new range of care models outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, despite receiving very little mention in the flagship paper, a key sector figure has said.
Matthew Winn, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust and chair of the NHS Confederation Community Health Services Forum, denied that community trusts had been “squeezed out” in the forward view.
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The plan by the six NHS national leadership organisations outlines two types of new provider organisation which could cover a substantial area of the country by 2021.
“Primary and acute care systems” (PACS) will be formed by successful foundation trusts to deliver GP services with patient lists and “multispecialty community providers” (MCP) will involve GP practices coming together either as federations or single organisations to deliver community, social and potentially acute services.
As both models seem likely to be driven by acute and primary providers respectively, the future role of community trusts appears uncertain.
However, Mr Winn said while community trusts were not “referenced very much” in the forward view, this did not mean they had been “squeezed out”.
He added that the current system in which primary care was largely delivered by GPs with patient lists had to be “modernised”. Interactions between community health and primary care professional should also be “absolutely glued together,” he added.
“The structure of corporate entity that does that, I would suggest [NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens] is fairly agnostic about.”
Mr Winn said community trusts could take over the running of GP services and community providers could form joint ventures with primary care providers to deliver services to their patients.
He added that these sorts of models could be more viable in many areas than integration driven by acute providers.
“The issue of primary care being managed and owned by acute care may suit some conurbations, but I think it’s not going to suit most of the country where primary care is a long way away from many acute hospitals.”
He also welcomed the idea outlined in the forward view of regulatory intervention on a health economy-wide basis.
Mr Winn, who is a chief executive in one of the 11 “challenged health economies” identified for extra support earlier this year, described the idea as “very impressive”.
“We’re beyond the time when we need to worry about every single corporate entity and their viability.
“Whole [areas] will become unviable if we’re not careful.”