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28.03.18

NHS England and NHSI look to integrate working practices into seven regional teams

NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced major changes designed to bring the organisations closer together.

Plans will be presented to NHS England’s board this Thursday to establish new working arrangements from September 2018.

These include increased integration and alignment of national programmes and activities in one team where possible, as well as the integration of NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams into which will be led by one regional director working for both organisations.

There will be seven regional teams, although at this stage it is unclear where they will be placed.  

It is hoped that this new joined up approach will enable both bodies to work more effectively with commissioners and providers in local health systems, speak with one voice and use collective resource more effectively.

A number of examples of how the teams are already working together include in a number of joint national and regional appointments and a single programme for urgent and emergency care, winter planning and A&E performance.

However, the two organisations will still have distinctive statutory responsibilities and accountabilities, and the proposals will not look to change this.

This legislation will also mean that a formal merger is not possible, but will instead look to combine forces and see how the organisations can collaborate more effectively.

Both organisations will now work on how the new approach will work in practice by designing joint ways of working.

In a joint statement, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England and Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS Improvement said: “The public see the National Health Service as a single organisation so, as we work to improve care for patients, it is right that the national leadership of the NHS work more closely. Together we are more than the sum of our parts.”

Top image: Sean Dempsey, PA Images

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