The UK health and social care system is undergoing radical transformation. Following the publication of the ‘Caring for our future’ White Paper and the draft Care and Support Bill, significant reforms have already taken place. In April 2013 the NHS Commissioning Board, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Public Health England, health and wellbeing boards, and local authorities took on new statutory responsibilities as set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Significantly, CCGs took full responsibility for planning and purchasing a range of health services within their areas.
Since 2012 CCGs have become major commissioners of health services in England – in 2013-14 the 211 CCGs were estimated to hold as many as 15,000 contracts with private, public and VCSE providers, with an annual value of about £9.3bn.
In November 2014 CCGs were invited to become co-commissioners of primary care in their area, responsible for the performance management and budgets of their member GP practices. 63 will take on fully delegated responsibility in April 2015 and 87 which will begin “joint commissioning”. Further reforms to the UK’s health and social care system are already planned, with some dependent on the result of the 2015 General Election – e.g. the care and support funding reform which would be implemented in 2017 – while others will evolve as the impact of current reforms is determined.
One thing is clear; if the health and social care system is to close the widening gaps in the health of the population and between the quality of care and the funding of services, then the role of external providers in delivering these services is only likely to increase as new models of care are sought.
We believe the best bids are often won before a procurement process has commenced. Because of this, we know that the best way to ride the change is to build strong, honest relationships with existing and emerging commissioning bodies. We have extensive experience of engaging local authorities and healthcare bodies, identifying the key players, creating solutions to local needs, and winning health and social care contracts which meet those needs.
Successful projects will be expected to improve the quality of health care services, provide clinically and cost effective services, and test new ways of working. Often these projects will require collaborative approaches that involve a number of organisations with their own specialisms. This creates opportunities for partnership bids, enabling smaller specialist organisations with a track record of delivery to be part of larger bids, either as part of consortia, or led by a larger lead body or provider.