• NHSE recruits lead for “ageing well” programme
  • Will lead long-term plan reforms of community health services
  • NHSE has previously opposed recruiting director for community health

NHS England has hired a trust chief executive on a part-time basis to oversee development of community health services.

Matthew Winn will be senior responsible officer for the “ageing well” programme – part of the NHS long-term plan which majors on expanding community health. He was involved in developing the proposals last year, and his focus will be implementing these aspects of the long-term plan.

Mr Winn will retain his permanent job as Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust chief executive, although he will step down as chair of the Community Network, a provider representative group. The NHSE role is for six months, in which time it is expected to decide permanent arrangements.

NHSE has not previously had a director or programme specifically linked to community health. Last year, it asked for a recommendation for a national director for community services to be dropped from a report by Lord Carter on efficiency in the sector

At the time it said, “the future for community health services is as part of integrated care systems linked much more closely to primary care on the one hand and hospital services on the other”, so a dedicated director was not wise.

However the long-term plan, published in January, includes aspirations to “boost ‘out-of-hospital’ care, and finally dissolve the historic divide between primary and community health services” and create “a new NHS offer of urgent community response and recovery support”. It commits that NHS spending on primary and community healthcare together will grow faster than overall NHS revenue spending. This has been budgeted at 3.8 per cent real terms annual growth, though the proposed make-up of this has not been published.

An NHS England and Improvement spokesman said: “The NHS long-term plan sets out an ambitious vision for the role of community services, backed by significant additional investment, with professionals working together to deliver more tailored and preventative support for those who need it.

“Matthew helped shape these plans, working closely with colleagues across the NHS and social care, making him a natural choice to provide leadership as we begin the crucial work of turning them into real improvements for patients.”

Martin Vernon, a national clinical director at NHSE, will work with Mr Winn as clinical director for the programme.

The Community Network, which is linked to NHS Providers and the NHS Confederation, is recruiting another chair.