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A new year and yet another new plan for the NHS. Some will say they have heard it all before and that the new ideas will get lost in the political smog or the bureaucratic maze whenever there is a change of government. However, the new long term plan for the NHS does appear to have a freshness about it and certainly looks to have significant implications for the voluntary sector.

In setting out how patient care will be redesigned to future proof the NHS over the next decade the plan suggests its new service model will have a much greater emphasis on community based care/services focusing on;

Preventing Illness

Tackling Health Inequalities

Supporting and Developing its Workforce

Embracing Digital Technology

Becoming More Efficient in Using the Funding it Receives

The plan acknowledges that the support and funding of good health and social care in the community is paramount and in this article we will concentrate on the implications of the plan for Underwood Consulting’s customers operating in the voluntary sector.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

One of the key tools in the redesign of the NHS is the use of integrated care systems (ICS) to boost out of hospital care. ICS bring together local organisations to improve population health, create shared leadership and action through the triple integration of primary care, physical and mental health services and health with social care . ICS have been piloted for three years now and the plan asserts that they have led to a substantial drop in emergency admissions where they have been implemented.

Importantly for the voluntary sector,  the plan sets out an ambition for every for  ICS partnership board to include voluntary and community sector partners. Therefore, it will be vital for organisations in the sector to prepare to undertake this role.

Commission, Partner With and Champion Local Charities

Perhaps the most important sentence in the report for those of us operating in the Voluntary Sector is; Commission, partner with and champion local charities, social enterprises and commercial enterprise companies which support vulnerable and at-risk groups. Indeed if the voluntary sector truly wishes to shape the future of health and social care it will need to get ready to respond to health commissioning. This will require local charities being able to demonstrate how they can support;

A Positive Patient Experience

Well Designed Clinical models

A Wider Public Knowledge of Patient Pathways

Effective Clinical Governance

Enhanced Patient Safety

Stringent Information Governance

Plus many more requirements that have been the domain of health rather than social care. That’s where Underwood Consulting can help. Having already successfully bid for many health and local authority contracts, Underwood Consulting’s tender readiness service can support voluntary sector organisations to respond to and embrace the role envisaged for them in the NHS Long Term Plan.

If this article has piqued your interest then do keep an eye on our website and subscribe to our newsletter as Underwood Consulting intends to publish installments detailing what the plan sets out for specific service user groups over the coming months, including;

Mental Health

Children and Young People

Learning Disabilities



Veterans and Armed forces

Carers and Young Carers