Waiting lists and the long-term future of the NHS

Waiting lists and the long-term future of the NHS

Healthcare waiting lists in the UK are reported to be longer now than they have been for about two decades.

In total, 4.52 million people are currently on NHS waiting lists and around 224,000 patients have been waiting for longer than a year.

Experts have warned the overall waiting list figure could double to as much as 10 million by April.

The worrying statistics have prompted NHS Confederation chief executive Danny Mortimer to state that even once the impact of Covid-19 is understood, waiting lists are ‘still going to be significantly higher than we have seen for a very, very long time’.

His views have been echoed by Professor Neil Mortensen, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, who has said there will need to be a ‘big plan’ to tackle the waiting list issue.

So, what might this plan look like? One solution could be ‘insourcing’, which we looked at in our December blog.

Reports have also begun to circulate about Government plans to shake-up NHS England in what could be the biggest health reform for a decade. The plans are set to reverse the changes made by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which gave clinicians control over budgets and encouraged competition with the private sector.

When the 2012 Health and Social Care Act was introduced it did come in for some criticism. Politicians on the left disliked it because they saw the introduction of competitive tendering as a vehicle for private companies to undermine the NHS. Meanwhile, many on the right came to dislike it because of bureaucratic costs and confused lines of accountability.

New proposals

The new proposals would see central Government taking greater control of the NHS. Instead of a system that requires competitive tendering for contracts, the NHS and local authorities will be left to run services and told to collaborate with each other.

Although the plans say the pandemic had shown clearly that a broader approach to health and care is essential, critics have raised concern that the latest proposals are essentially rushing through the NHS Long Term Plan which includes plans to integrate health and social care into the Government. Others have questioned the sense of the Government launching these new plans whilst the NHS is still battling Covid-19 and is in the middle of the biggest vaccination programme in our history.

The worry is these changes will mean we move away from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) which are GP-led, towards further nationalisation of the NHS. Questions are already being raised as to whether this is a power grab by ministers which won’t necessarily improve patient care.

The current 2012 Health and Social Care Act also means most contracts need to go out to tender and, as a result, the process is very transparent. We don’t yet have all the details of how things will work under the new proposals but you only need to look back on reporting of the Government’s handling of PPE procurements to see why it has to make sure any new system is transparent. In its rush to procure PPE during 2020 it was accused of handing out ‘jobs to pals’.

Hopefully, we will see some improvements under the new proposals. For example, it is more likely that smaller social contracts which really would have been better going to local trusts in recent years will go to those trusts by default under the new plans. Having said this, specialist contracts such as physiotherapy or dermatology services may still go out to tender as not every trust has a local provider of such specialisms.

As ever here at K Low Consulting we will be following such developments incredibly closely so that we can help our clients to be successful in their bid writing efforts.

If you need help, get in touch with K Low Consulting today to see how we can assist you.

Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

NHS waiting lists could result in tender opportunities

We’ve all seen the worrying headlines about the growth in NHS waiting lists following the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Just this week it has been reported in the national news that the number of people on NHS waiting lists hit a 12-year high. At least 162,000 patients are waiting more than a year for routine operations and the total NHS waiting list for routine treatments reached 4.4 million at the end of October. More than a third of those patients had been waiting more than 18 weeks – the NHS target for waiting times, from referral to treatment.

As the NHS continues to suspend operations as it tackles the Coronavirus epidemic, experts are expecting to see these waiting list figures rise even further in 2021.

To tackle this growing problem, NHS bosses need to introduce additional capacity into the system and one of the ways they are looking to do this is through a concept called insourcing.

What is insourcing?

Similar to outsourcing, insourcing would see the hospital ask an external provider to get an activity, contract or job completed on their behalf using their own people and equipment. The difference with insourcing is that the external company would bring their own people and equipment to the hospital and manage everything on the hospital’s own site.

This is a growing concept and one which we can reasonably expect to see taking a strong foothold in the NHS in 2021 as it struggles to bring down the growing waiting lists.

What does the growth of NHS insourcing mean for businesses?

The growth of insourcing by the NHS is likely to present some tender opportunities for private companies or medical professionals in the healthcare industry.

The types of services that hospitals are looking to secure support with could include:

  • NHS inpatient and outpatient (including full supporting pathology and imaging) services and urgent elective care and cancer treatment to service users in line with nationally set criteria; and
  • NHS inpatient non-elective care (either direct admission or transfer from an NHS organisation).

Forward-thinking businesses in the health sector have already identified insourcing as a growing area. For example, UK and Ireland healthcare service provider, Totally, launched its new insourcing venture, Totally Healthcare, in October. It said it was starting the venture primarily to reduce NHS waiting times by providing a range of procedures and services within NHS hospitals, taking advantage of spare capacity typically during weekends and bank holidays. A few weeks ago, it revealed its insourcing services have secured significant contracts across its target markets and it now classes itself as ‘key partners’ to the NHS.

Who does the NHS want to work with?

NHS Commissioners are open to working with private providers of all sizes, for a wide range of clinical activities across the country. There are national frameworks like NHS SBS aimed at all size organisations and locations, alternatively we have seen individual NHS Trusts selecting exclusive providers to meet their local requirements.

All indications are that we will see insourcing playing a greater role in the immediate future of the NHS as part of its efforts to bring waiting lists down.

If you need help with commercial bid writing, get in touch with K Low Consulting today to see how we can assist you.

Contact info@klowconsulting.com or give us a call on 0330 133 1041.

NHS England- PDPS Contract Announcement

NHS England’s PDPS APMS Contract Announcement

NHS England’s PDPS APMS Contract has now been released on January 23rd and encourages all GP providers who wish to bid in the future, to apply as soon as possible.

In case you haven’t seen our previous blog posts about the contract, the APMS PDPS Contract was announced in October and presented the launch of a new online procurement tool (Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing System, PDPS). 

To find out more information about how to apply for NHS England’s PDPS Contract, please click this link: https://klowconsulting.com/pdps-contract/

As per NHS England’s contract description:

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) are seeking to launch a new online purchasing system (PDPS) where pre-approved GP providers can apply to join a list of pre-approved providers. Those providers approved to join the system can then be invited by local commissioners to bid to provide APMS services when local needs arise.

The contract is a 4-year procurement exercise managed through a new eProcurement platform and will see:

  • GP Providers appointed to an electronically managed list of approved providers
  • GP Providers can apply and be added to this list at any time during the 4-year period, unlike a traditional procurement framework,
  • Once approved onto the PDPS, GP providers can be invited via the ePlatform to respond to requests for APMS Services from local commissioners. These local ‘call-offs’ will be matched to the bespoke needs of local commissioners.

For more information on this, and a full description of the contract, please refer to this website:

https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:34789-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

This website also provides more information about the contract: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/6f4aae1b-7289-4b78-88eb-f5d36757f21c

Importance of the PDPS APMS Framework

As stated in our previous blog post, GP providers with an interest in providing routing and/or caretaker APMS services are encouraged to apply to be on the PDPS.

Any GP can apply for this contract and interest can be from a local GP contract holder within a Primary Care Network or a larger GP contract holder and other healthcare providers such as caretakers.

Please note that application to the approved provider list does NOT commit you to provide APMS services but does mean you will be able to bid when local needs arise. Thus, it is worth considering this contract carefully if you wish to bid for local services in the future.

Contract Deadline

As stated on the contract announcement, the deadline is 2024. Although, if a call-off happens you must already be on the framework to respond. It is critical that you consider applying as soon as possible for this contract.

To find out more information about the PDPS contract, please read our previous blog posts:

https://klowconsulting.com/pdps-contract/

https://klowconsulting.com/update-pdps/

Contact Us Today

K Low Consulting are offering bid support with to any providers who want to bid for this contract. We are offering support to meet your needs.

If you have any queries about this contract, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

We are available during office hours on 0330 133 1041 or via email at info@klowconsulting.com

Primary Care Networks: A Challenging Collaboration?

Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks are still in the early stages of formation and many people may be unaware or have little knowledge of them.  

Primary Care Networks were introduced in the NHS Long Term Plan in 2019 and since then, there has been the beginning of many formations to collaborate healthcare services for the benefit of patients and their healthcare.

Since the introduction of the NHS’s Long Term Plan, practices have organised themselves into their Primary Care Networks as of 15th May 2019 and all except a handful of GP practices in England have come together, resulting in around 1,300 geographical networks (Kings Fund, 2019, https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/primary-care-networks-explained).

Aiming to collaborate a workforce and form a more inclusive work environment to better the needs of patients, the particular challenges, risks and successes of these formed Primary Care Networks can be evaluated.

Questioning ‘are primary care networks a challenging collaboration?’, this article will provide a holistic overview of primary care networks, the potential risks and challenges and finally, the successes.

What are Primary Care Networks?

A Primary Care Network is one or more general practice’s working collaboratively together. This usually consists of networks of doctors and other healthcare providers such as dieticians, pharmacists and nurses.

Primary Care Networks ‘form a key building block of the NHS long-term plan’. Whilst there were some different ways of working together before the introducing of PCN’s, they aim to create a formal structure.

How are Primary Care Networks formed?

As stated on the King’s Fund, networks are geographically based and cover all practice within a clinical commissioning group boundary.

It is not a requirement that primary care networks are formed, but if practices choose not to join, they will lose out on significant funding. It’s also important to note that occasionally, a single practice can function as a network if they meet the size requirements. PCN’s will receive funding to employ additional health professionals such as pharmacists and paramedics to enable a greater formation.

Why were Primary Care Networks introduced?

The NHS were facing issues with increased demand in healthcare services. Patients were living longer, with more complex and long-term health conditions. These issues were also coupled with an understaffed workforce.

As a result, the introduction of Primary Care Networks aimed to alleviate the strain on healthcare staff, allowing them to work together to deliver primary care services.

The introduction of Primary Care Networks aimed to ‘build on the core of current primary care services’ enabling a more pro-active and co-ordinated workforce.

Primary Care Homes (introduced in 2015) were an approach to strengthening primary care. The model brings together a range of health and social care professionals to work together to provide enhanced personalised and preventative care for their local community.

On 31st March 2017, NHS England publishes ‘Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View’, which reviewed the progress made since the launch of the ‘NHS Five Year Forward View’ in October 2014. The revised Five-Year Forward View set out ‘practical and realistic steps’ to ensure the delivering of a more responsible and sustainable model.

Healthcare professionals were encouraged to work together, in networks of 30,000-50,00 patients, which built on the Primary Care Home model. Following this, in February 2018, refreshed ‘NHS Plans for 19’ was introduced. This plan set out the plans for CCG’s, encouraging every GP to be part of a PCN so that these could cover the whole country as far as possible by the end of 2018/2019.

The GP contract, agreed in January 2019, is a new extension part of NHS England’s five-year framework for GP services, named the ‘Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service’ (DES). This contract went live on 1st July and enables GP practices to ‘play a leading role in every PCN’.

As part of this contract, the DES announced that PCN’s must appoint a clinical director as their named leader, responsible for delivery. The network agreement states the rights and obligations of the GP practices within the network, how the network will partner with non-GP’s, and a patient data-sharing requirement.

Here are some key legislative dates as mentioned above:

2015: The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) launched the Primary Care Home model at their annual conference
April 2016: NHS England introduced GP Five Year Forward View
2nd February 2018: NHS England introduced ‘Refreshing NHS Plans for 19’
7th January 2019: NHS Long Term Plan introduced
31st January 2019: GP Contract 2019/20 (outlines what PCN’s will be)
15th May 2019: Practices have to organise themselves into networks and submit signed network agreements to their clinical commissioning group (CCG).
1st July 2019: NHSE expects the network contract to provide 100% geographical coverage

Benefits of Primary Care Networks

As previously mentioned, PCN’s were introduced to allow GP and primary care services to scale up by grouping. As a PCN, workforces can team up to deliver as a larger entity and pull resource where needed.

PCN’s have the potential to substantially improve patient experience. One of the many benefits is that the accessibility of healthcare services increases, allowing them to have access to extended services.

In terms of other benefits, each PCN will encounter their own set of benefits individually. As provided below, success stories present two different sets of benefits for patients and staff.

Examples of these benefits as outlined in the success stories are:

  • Better work relationships and collaboration
  • A stronger focus on patient care and experience
  • Easier to identify key issues within the community through collaboration

Dr Nikki Kanani, a London GP and NHS England’s acting medical director for primary care stated: “people across the country will benefit from access to more convenient and specialist care through their local GP. As part of the long-term plan for the NHS, GP surgeries large and small will be working together to deliver more specialist services to patients”- Guardian.

Risks and Challenges of Primary Care Networks 

As health.org.uk and Nuffield Health outlined, there are a particular set of risks and challenges associated with PCN’s:

1. Speed

One of the most prominent risks of PCN’s is the speed of implementation of these collaborations. With such a tight set of deadlines associated with PCN’s, it may be difficult for people to familiarise themselves with PCN’s and then form their practices into networks within these time restraints.

As Nuffield Health illustrated, these tight deadlines could mean that failure was inherent form the policy design. It could be said that these timescales are unrealistic and ambitious, not giving professionals enough time to adjust to the rapid changes.

2. Funding

 In terms of deciding not to join a network, practices will miss out on the sources of funding. However, even if there is a formation of a PCN, there is a risk that there will be a removal of other sources of income for practices.

In addition to this, NHS England has promised to meet 70% of costs of employing most additional staff need for the PCN, meaning networks must cover the remaining 30% of the cost associated with this. This could be particularly costly for those practices that cannot afford this.

3. Workforce and workload

A particular risk associated with PCN’s is that they may decrease the amount of GP time available.

Additionally, there is no proof that the NHS is supplying 20,000 additional health professionals as stated in their plan. Increasing this workforce also means accommodating for these new staff members, which may pose a particular challenge for some GP’s where workspace is limited.

There could be a lack of operational support to realise the amount of PCN roles that need to be filled in this short time period. Additionally, some practices may not have the funding available to appoint new staff members.

4. Lack of collaboration

There is a risk that PCN’s may not be able to form effective organisations.

The knock-on effects of the lack of collaborations between practices are that there are disputes which could result in isolation and resist, creating further issues amongst networks. Thus, this could result in a lack of collaboration and the failure of an effective network model.

As stated on the King’s Fund website, the research found that collaboration in general practice was most successful when it had been generated organically over several years and if it was reinforced by trust, relationships and support. On the other hand, research has shown that a lack of clarity of purpose and engagement or over-optimistic expectations resulted in less effective collaborations. This suggests that collaboration and focus should be coupled together to form an effective PCN.

5. Lack of focus

There are a large number of objectives for PCN’s. The number of objectives that professionals must fulfil, may be unrealistic and put further pressure on them.

In 2020/21, there are five out of seven service specifications expected to be delivered. This heightened pressure on healthcare professionals may result in intolerable pressure resulting in a lack of focus.

Protecting Risks and Challenges of Primary Care Networks 

Although, as Primary Care Networks are still in the early stages of development, these risks and challenges could be easily rectified at this early stage.

Nuffield Health provides a series of possible solutions to these problems, some of which are provided as examples below:

Issue: Lack of collaboration/ not able to create effective organisations

Possible Solutions:

  • Create a new vision for primary care: defining what an effective PCN looks like and what can be achieved.
  • Carve out time (using paid backfill, ideally from CCG’S/STP’s) to build a shared organisational vision
  • Draft vision statements as practical documents
  • Create clear roles for each of the different levels of the local system

Issue: Lack of focus

Possible Solutions:

  • ‘Work with CCG’s and commissioning support units to undertake multi-level approaches to tackling population health and general operations’
  • ‘share learning across practices and governance levels in a neighbourhood to create a sense of shared ownership’

Issue: Speed

Possible Solutions:

  • ‘Policymakers should acknowledge that an organisational plan can take up to two years, and outcomes 5-10 years to realise’
  • ‘STPS/ICSs and CCGs should work closely with PCNs to agree roles, responsibilities, development plans, timelines and funding arrangements until 2025’
  • ‘PCNs leads and practice liaisons should jointly agree on the purpose of new roles and their contractual terms and conditions’
  • ‘CCGs should examine where their management support should be best placed- this role has had little attention to date in primary care workforce planning and funding’

Issue: Workforce/ Workload

Possible Solutions:

  • ‘create a shared physical space for the PCN and bring people together during their working day to talk about what they want to achieve’
  • ‘help clinical directors to improve the capacity and capability of their network by focusing initially on small, achievable initiatives that help or reduce workload in individual practices and build trust’
  • ‘Appoint leaders who have skills to make sense of the environment and set the direction, as well as managing the many different aspects of the organisation’s functions’

Successes of Primary Care Networks 

Despite the foreseeable risks and challenges to PCN’s, there have been a number of success stories which illustrate the impact that they have already made.

Yorkshire Primary Care Network

A success story on the NHS Confederation website discusses how a Yorkshire Primary Care Network bridged the gap between health and social care by linking up care in their region.

They sought to identify the problems that their patients had and work towards rectifying these issues as a PCN. One of the issues identified was that they had a considerably high percentage of older patients and they had to be attentive when caring for those patients, especially those who were on a terminal decline. Thus, they appointed a care co-ordinator and benefitted from the PCN team across the network.

Alongside this, a Parkinson’s nurse was appointed, a partnership with the York Teaching Hospital has been formed and a rapid cancer diagnosis pathway is underway.

Dr Evans, one of the doctors in the Yorkshire Primary Care Network stated: “The care of our patients is a lot more organized and anticipatory, and [there is] less crisis. But actually, more important, it works”

Chester East Primary Care Network

Chester East Primary Care Network who cover a network population of 37,020 patients.

There has been a substantial impact of this PCN, details of such are as followed:

  • ‘They have been identified by an independent audit on behalf of NHS England as an exemplar of best practice’
  • ‘They use a 0365 platform to share project information and documentation. This has provided visibility of project progress and support collaborative and agile working in the absence of shared file arrangements- dedicated programme support’
  • ‘Dedicated programme support has enabled the work to move at pace, providing a structure for everyone to feed into and embrace’
  • ‘CSU expertise within the programme management provided valuable support in sharing best practice across the network, using case studies to support current and future opportunities in collaborative working’
  • ‘created a robust governance structure has enhanced working relationships and provided visibility and clarity on roles and responsibilities across the network’

Their shared vision is: “Working together to deliver high quality, innovative and sustainable healthcare for our community with commitment, compassion and integrity”.

Successes of Primary Care Networks: Self Evaluation for Staff

As exemplified by the National Association of Primary Care, Figure 2 presents the outcomes of a questionnaire for staff. It shows the self-assessment by PCN supervisors, of how networks have improved the workplace. As shown, there is a lower demand for primary health services and patients are engaging more and benefiting from healthier lifestyles.

Figure 5 (as presented on NAPC.co.uk) also presents that improved self-management, healthier lifestyles and patient engagement has increased pre vs. post PCN.

Contact Our Team Today 

If you need help on a tender, contact our experienced team of writers today on 03301 1331 041.
Alternatively, send an email to info@klowconsulting.com for more information and details.

How to present an accessible healthcare service in a tender

Accessible Healthcare

Accessibility in healthcare has been described as a ‘global challenge’. As a prominent challenge that many healthcare providers face, developing and maintaining an accessible service for patients is an ongoing issue across the healthcare industry.

Regularly, healthcare tenders have a question centred solely or partially around accessibility. Therefore, answering this question to demonstrate how your healthcare service is providing accessible healthcare for your patients is crucial.

This article will focus on what accessibility in healthcare is and why it is important, how it can be improved in practice and most importantly, how to answer an accessibility question on a tender.

What is accessibility in healthcare?

The definition of accessibility is given in the name itself; it is all about providing accessible healthcare for all.

Having accessible healthcare services available for those who need them is critical as it allows people to get the appropriate healthcare resources in order to help maintain or improve their health.

In a human rights context, accessibility is described by the World Health Organization as: ‘health facilities, goods and services must be within safe physical reach for all sections of the population, especially vulnerable or marginalized groups, such as ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, women, children, adolescents, older persons, persons with disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS, including rural areas’.

Healthcare accessibility is a broad scope and relates to many different aspects.

Accessibility, therefore, may mean:

  • Access to buildings
  • Communications with healthcare staff
  • Management of appointments

There may be a variety of reasons as to why patients cannot access healthcare services. Some of the reasons may be:

  • Lack of transport links. Those living in an urban area may particularly struggle with transport
  • Health-related conditions. Certain health conditions may mean that an individual cannot travel to the property
  • Financial barriers. Primarily for transport or service charges (e.g. dental or eye tests)
  • Organisational barriers

Why is accessibility in healthcare important?

As mentioned above, accessibility in healthcare is key because an individual who is restricted from healthcare access can suffer from further or more serious health-related issues. Consequently, it could lead to serious complications such as disease, disability and even premature death.

Healthcare Accessibility Questions on a Tender

A healthcare tender will usually involve accessibility in one form or another. Before answering this question, think holistically about the healthcare service that you are currently providing to patients.

Asking questions such as “what are we doing to make our healthcare service more accessible for patients?” and “what do we plan to do to improve accessibility in the future?” will help direct your answer.

When writing your answer, you may want to focus on these specific elements:

1) Location and Transport

The location and transport links to your service will need to be carefully considered. Are you located in a central part of the city? Do you have transport links to your practice?

Presenting that you have bus routes, car parks or express buses available for your patients, all feeds into the accessibility of your healthcare service.

If you have free parking bays nearby, or even a ‘park and ride’ option, stating this within your answer will show that your service is accessible to patients.

2) Appointments

For healthcare to be accessible for all, there needs to be appointments available for those who need them. Offering on the day appointments is ideal for those who need urgently seen to.

Appointments available out of hours, for example, 6-8 pm, or weekend appointments, will be made accessible for those who can’t make the standard appointment times. Again, having these additional services enables ease of access for those who work full time or have other commitments that mean they can’t get to the standard appointment hours.

Making these appointments easily available, via online booking systems or through telephone lines, is also imperative. If patients are unable to get through to the line, this is an indication that this healthcare service isn’t readily accessible for them.

3) Equal Access

Considering equal access to healthcare services is a crucial implementation within your answer. This will also enable you to present that your service adheres to best practice and the Equality and Diversity (2010) policy.

For this answer, implementing your Equality and Diversity policy and providing details of the training provided to staff which relates to Equality and Diversity, will be beneficial when demonstrating best practice. We have an article centred around Equality and Diversity that has further information about this.

Equal access ensures that those who are part of a minority, are vulnerable, have protected characteristics or particularly ‘hard-to-reach’ groups are being treated fairly and non- discriminatory.

Providing details of any additional work that you do within the community to help those that are disadvantaged or within a minority will add value to this answer. This could include work undertaken with the homeless or the elderly.

Asylum Seekers or individuals that are limited in their ability to communicate also form part of this group. Having a translation organisation in partnership with your healthcare service will again, improve the accessibility for those groups.

4) Domiciliary Appointments

Although domiciliary appointments may not be stated within the contract, providing these appointments to those who cannot get to the service, will demonstrate that you are considering these groups and have additional measures in place for them. Reflecting this within your answer, will again, be highly beneficial.

5) Demonstrating your patient care service

Indicating that you aim to provide an excellent patient-centred service will be rewarded when answering this question.

Showing that you have various methods of feedback in place and that you actively strive towards improving feedback points, presents that you are trying to provide the best possible patient experience; this helps patient experience and accessibility.

If patients are experiencing any problems in terms of accessibility, asking them what their problems are will help you make the right steps to improving this. Feedback can be done in a variety of ways, our last article outlines some methods of feedback and how to improve patient experience overall.

 6) Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard states that from 1st August 2016, organisations providing NHS care and/or publicly funded adult social care are legally required to follow this standard. Being aware of this standard and reflecting that your service aligns with best practice is essential.

NHS England stated that organisations should:

  • Ask people if they have any information or communication needs and find out how to meet their needs
  • Record those needs clearly and in a set way
  • Highlight or flag the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how to meet those needs
  • Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care when they have consent or permission to do so
  • Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand and receive communication support if they need it
  • Contact and be contacted by, services in accessible ways. For example, via email or text messages, receive information and correspondence in formats they can read and understand, be supported by a communication professional at appointments if this is needed to support conversation.

Contact Our Team Today 

If you need help on a tender, contact our experienced team of writers today on 03301 1331 041.
Alternatively, send an email to info@klowconsulting.com for more information and details.

How to develop a patient-centred service

The five-year forward view presented plans to work towards a more collaborative and informative relationship between patient and healthcare professional. A patient-centred service means that patients are getting the best experience, putting patients at the centre of their own health and healthcare.

In this article, we provide some tips on developing a patient-centred service.

What is patient-centred care?

To understand how to develop a patient-centred service, it is imperative to know what it consists of.

Patient-centred care, as stated by NHS England, “starts with the patient”. It revolves around the notion that the patient is in control of their health and the healthcare services that are provided for them.

Patient-centred care represents collaboration, power and pro-activeness, as the patient works alongside a healthcare professional in partnership to design and shape their own healthcare based on their needs and goals.

To form a greater understanding of patient-centred care, an effective patient-centred service mainly centres around the following ideas:

  • The person is treated with dignity, respect and compassion
  • Communicating and coordinating care between appointments and different services over time
  • Care is shared between a community health service and a hospital
  • Care is tailored to suit individual needs and what they want to achieve
  • Supporting individuals to help them understand and learn about their health
  • Finding ways to help them get better, look after themselves and stay independent
  • Being involved in their healthcare decisions

Benefits of a patient-centred service

Having a patient-centred service benefits the patient, practice and the healthcare professional greatly.

As such, there are many benefits to a patient-centred service, such as:

  • It improves patient outcomes by supporting patients with long-term conditions to manage their health and improve clinical outcomes. When individuals play a more collaborative role in managing their health and care, they are less likely to use hospital services, stick to their treatment plans and take medicine correctly.
  • Patients have the opportunity and support to make decisions about their care and treatment in partnership with health professionals are more satisfied with their care, are more likely to choose treatments based on their values and preferences rather than those of their clinician.
  • Individuals can gain more knowledge, skills and confidence in managing their health and healthcare. In turn, they are more likely to engage in positive health behaviours, which in turn, will create better health outcomes.
  • Person-centred care is good for healthcare professionals too- it increases staff performance and morale.

Putting staff at the heart of a patient-centred vision

NHS England and Public Health England provided a consultation document for the public named ‘Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future’. The workforce strategy is about placing staff at the “heart of a patient-centred vision”. To develop a patient-centred service therefore, staff members need to be actively involved in creating this vision.

NHS England has been drafting a workforce strategy to get staff members involved, by working pro-actively to create a patient-centred care service, one that will benefit them as much as the patient. As one of the many stated benefits of providing this service, staff morale and performance is a result of better patient experiences.

As healthcare professionals are the ones that can help create this vision, they must be aware of how to create a more positive patient experience.

Developing a patient-centred service

To develop a patient-centred service, you must effectively engage with patients, monitor their experience and improve their experience based on their feedback. Asking people if they are receiving the care that they need will give a good indication on that basis and make them feel more secure and cared for.

1) Patient involvement and experience

The first way to develop a patient-centred service is to put the patient at the heart of the service and improve their overall patient experience. A key part of patient-centred care is the patient being actively involved in their own healthcare.

Making patients central to their healthcare involves working collaboratively with people who use the service to support their development, skills and confidence. Patient-centred healthcare largely involves patients making informed decisions about their own health and healthcare.

There are many aspects which allow the patient to have a better experience. Based on Picker’s Eight Principles of Patient-centred Care there are eight main components: respect for patients’ preferences, co-ordination and integration of care, information and education, physical comfort, emotional support, the involvement of family and friends, continuity and transition and access to care. As a foundation for building a patient-centred service, following Picker’s basic principles as a guideline may assist in developing this service.

Part of caring for patients also involves caring for their families; this is otherwise known as family-centred care. If the patient has the support and involvement of their families within their healthcare, they are more likely to react positively.

It all starts with the patient; listening to their needs and designing patient experience based on these needs.

2) Monitoring services

Monitoring patient experience is the key to developing a patient-centred service.

There are some examples of ways to monitor and evaluate patient experience. Some examples are as followed:

  • Friend and family surveys
  • GP Patient Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • PPG Group
  • Compliments Boxes
  • Patient Member Participation Groups

3) Evaluating data based on feedback

Evaluating data and using it to improve on a patient-centred service, will give you the opportunity to focus on the areas that need developing. Surveys and feedback methods will give you the opportunity to improve your service.

Understanding what is being asked of the patient and analysing this feedback will help you move towards this.

For example, GP patient surveys give a specific indication of what areas need improvement. An example of a GP patient survey is presented below:

As shown from the answers presented in this particular GP survey, patients are less satisfied with the appointment times available to them in comparison to how easy it is to get through to someone on the phone. All of these aspects form a greater patient experience.

Focusing and working on the areas that customers feel less satisfied with, will result in better patient experience and will form a more effective patient-centred service.

As seen from the table above, 34% of national NHS patients have not agreed on a plan with a healthcare professional to manage long-term conditions.

From the table below, a local GP practice shows that 83% of local patients did not have a conversation with a healthcare professional from their GP practice to discuss what is important to them when managing their condition(s).

 As part of a patient-centred service, patients with long-term health conditions should have an active role in their own healthcare. As seen from the chart above, this particular GP practice is scoring low on this, suggesting there were no discussions about managing their conditions and stating their healthcare goals. Thus, this would not particularly represent a patient-centred service.

Thoroughly understanding and analysing selected questions such as these, and developing based on what patients are feeding back, will give a basis for professionals to work with when building and developing a patient-centred service.

These issues can be improved by:

  • Having regular discussions about the patient’s healthcare
  • Discussing the patient’s long-term health conditions and their goals
  • Ask the patient questions such as ‘What’s important to you when it comes to your healthcare?’ ‘What would make things better for you?’
  • Allowing the patient to be involved in making important decisions about their health
  • Involving the patient’s family in their healthcare
  • Setting out a plan of the patients’ health care conditions and practical steps about how to help them

Contact Our Team Today 

If you need help on a tender, contact our experienced team of writers today on 03301 1331 041.
Alternatively, send an email to info@klowconsulting.com for more information and details.

How do I apply for NHS England’s Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing System (PDPS) framework for GP APMS contracts?

APMS Contract

What it is, how you bid for it and why you should consider it.

As you may have seen, NHS England have recently published a prior information notice which may change the way that GP’s contracts are commissioned. It may be vital for you to apply for this contract so that you can bid for local services in the future.

What is the Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing System (PDPS) contract?

NHS England have recently announced an upcoming contract opportunity.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new online procurement tool (Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing System, otherwise known as PDPS), which will include a list of pre-approved GP providers that can be invited by local commissioners to deliver local GP services. The PDPS system is planned to be live from January 2020. The estimated date of the contract notice is 01/12/2019.

There are three main marketing engagement events for this contract, which we strongly urge you to attend. These events will be centred around the new PDPS tool. The events are in Leeds (23/10/2019- pm), Birmingham (28/10/2019- pm) and London (30/10/2019- pm).

To book on to any of these events or find out more information about them you can follow this link: https://www.events.england.nhs.uk/national-dynamic-purchasing-system-events.

APMS services- information about lots

There are two main “lots” which are planned in the scope of the APMS service:

Lot 1. Routine GP Services

Supporting local commissioners, this lot will enable the delivery of procurement plans for replacing existing or securing additional GP services. It covers the list-based services expected from all GP practices in England. APMS contracts will fit the tailored needs of each local commissioner.

Lot 2. Caretaker Services

Lot 2 consists of urgent cover arrangements which are approved by primary care and commissioning committees on a case by case basis to ensure a safe and sustainable GP service continues for patients when a GP contract terminates suddenly and unexpectedly.

A new purchasing system for GP’s

The PDPS is being set up under the Light Touch Regime for Health Care contracts within the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. The system is being implemented by NELCSU (North and East London Commissioning Support Unit) on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement.

THE PDPS 4-year procurement exercise will oversee:

  • GP providers appointed to an electronically managed list of approved providers- GP providers can apply and be added to this list at any time during the 4-year period.
  • Approved GP providers invited via the e-platform to respond to request for APMS services from local commissioners. The “call-off” will be matched to the adapted needs of local commissioners.

So, should you apply for the PDPS contract?

NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Clinical Commissioning Groups will be encouraging all GP providers with an interest in providing routing and/or caretaker APMS services to apply to be on the PDPS.

Any GP can apply for this contract and interest can be from a local GP contract holder within a Primary Care Network or a larger GP contract holder and other healthcare providers such as caretakers.

Application to the approved provider list does not commit you to provide APMS services but does mean you will be able to bid when local needs arise. As such, it is worth considering this contract carefully as the decision not to bid may deny your chances of bidding for local services in the future.

The contract will allow you to apply at any time. Although, if a call-off happens you must already be on the framework to respond. Therefore, it is critical that you consider applying as soon as possible for this contract.

What you need to demonstrate to qualify as an approved provider

There is a set of criteria that providers need to meet to be accepted onto the PDPS contract. Minimum threshold on suitability and capability will need to be met and key pass/fail questions will be asked of providers in the following areas:

  • Financial and economic standing
  • Technical and professional ability
  • Mandatory and discretionary exclusion questions
  • Other subject matter questions

How to Apply For The NHS England PDPS Framework for GP APMS Contracts

K Low Consulting can help assist you in registering interest and applying for this contract.

You only need to apply once for this contract. Once we have secured your place on the framework it is assured that you are able to bid for any APMS contracts that NHS England ‘calls-off’ via the framework for the next 4 years.

To get more information about the contract or to raise your interest, contact K Low Consulting today at info@klowconsulting.com or call our office on 0330 133 1041.