Devolve to evolve?
The future of specialised services within integrated care
Specialised services typically care for small numbers of patients with rare or complex conditions. They are commonly overlooked in debates around the future of the NHS. This is despite costs growing by over 50% in eight years, and now exceeding £20bn per year. This one part of the NHS now receives more taxpayer funding than providing police services and fighting crime.
The spotlight is returning, with proposals from NHS England to change how these services are planned, with power and responsibility being devolved down to new Integrated Care Boards – sub-regional structures across England. This report sets out a series of recommendations which Policy Exchange believe should underpin these reforms, including refinement of the services into more logical groupings, an expanded role for patient and carer input into service design, and stronger ministerial and financial oversight to ensure the sustainability of service delivery for the longer term.