Leading community healthcare providers Serco and Bromley Healthcare, an employee-owned social enterprise, have signed a partnership agreement to work together in the community healthcare market.
In the short term, the two organisations will start work immediately to further improve the quality of community healthcare in Suffolk, with Bromley Healthcare acting in an advisory capacity and supporting clinical leaders.
In the long term, they intend to join forces to bid for a range of opportunities in community services and integrated care across the UK.
This new partnership will seek to use the expertise and skills of both organisations to improve care for patients, while delivering best value for the NHS. Both organisations have a strong understanding of challenges and opportunities in the community healthcare environment and have proven track records in delivering improvements for complex and varied services. This is a key priority for the NHS as the government seeks to reduce the number of people going to hospital.
Serco has a proven track record in delivering the innovation and change that is necessary to modernise community healthcare if it is to play a pivotal role in a 21st century health service.
It runs Suffolk Community Healthcare and, since taking over, has radically redesigned services so that more people are looked after in the community, a better and more cost-effective option than hospital for most people. Ninety-seven per cent of patients and carers surveyed would be willing to recommend these services, according to the Friends and Family Test, and average length of stay in its community hospitals reduced by a week in the six months to November 2013. Its care co-ordination centre in Ipswich is open 24/7 - this was not the case before Serco took over.
Bromley Healthcare, an employee-owned social enterprise, has run community health services in Bromley since it was spun out of the NHS in 2011, with strong support from local GPs and a dedicated staff group with decades of experience of community care.
Since then, it has dramatically improved the quality and efficiency of its services and won contracts throughout south-east London. By working closely with staff, it has made huge improvements in services in a way that has enabled staff to feel comfortable with those changes.
As a consequence, performance has improved dramatically. For example, leg ulcer healing rates are down to six weeks from 21 and productivity has shot up by 20% in three years. Staff also remain happy and motivated - a key ingredient in quality of care.Read more
Valerie Michie, Managing Director of Serco's healthcare business, said: "I am delighted to be working with Bromley Healthcare as we seek to develop a partnership that offers coordinated care for patients and their families.
"We anticipate financial pressures will lead to increased collaboration and consolidation as NHS trusts look to take on responsibility for patient care inside and outside hospitals. Alongside this, commissioners will aim to award contracts that reward providers for services that keep local populations as a whole well and out of hospital."
Jonathan Lewis, CEO of Bromley Healthcare, said: "The NHS and local authorities need community health providers to change dramatically over the coming years to meet the challenge of looking after an ageing population who principally want to be cared for in their own homes.
"Serco's scale and knowledge of implementing change, plus Bromley Healthcare's detailed understanding of community services and our human touch, make us uniquely able to deliver