Connect Health appointed on two NHS frameworks to support stretched services and frontline workers

A leading NHS community healthcare provider has been named as a partner on two national frameworks, both of which aim to help the overstretched health service cope with growing demand for appointments and increased pressure on its key workers.

For over 30 years Connect Health has been working in partnership with the NHS. It provides national evidence-based, clinically-driven community musculoskeletal services, including orthopaedics, pain, rheumatology, physiotherapy and change management expertise, informed by its proven transformation and mobilisation model. It is thanks to the company’s impressive track record, that it has now been added to the Outsourced Clinical Services Framework and Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF).

Developed by NHS Shared Business Services, the Outsourced Clinical Services framework provides an OJEU compliant route to market for approved organisations to procure quality, value for money clinical services.

With musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affecting 1 in 4 of the adult population and with the added pressure on frontline staff and key workers due to Coronavirus, the demands are significant, with some staff working long hours under desperately difficult conditions. Connect Health has made a significant investment in its Patient Coordination Centre alongside the very latest robotics and AI, to make sure administrative interaction with patients and clinicians, including appointment bookings, reminders, care plans, diagnostics coordination and discharge, are managed effectively.

Phil Davies, Director of Procurement at NHS Shared Business Services, said: “NHS organisations routinely acquire extra clinical capacity to deal with spikes in demand and to keep waiting lists down for patients. The recent extreme pressure on NHS services means that additional clinical support is likely to be needed now more than ever. We have worked with a number of NHS trusts to put a framework in place that enables any NHS provider to access high-quality clinical services quickly – in a cost-effective and compliant manner.”

Mike Turner, Chief Operating Officer, Connect Health added: “We are delighted to have been the only specialist MSK provider chosen for the OCS framework, and to score second highest in a group of over 35 successful bidders. Our services cover more than 10% of England’s population, demonstrating that we can quickly leverage our platform to support NHS partners’ waiting lists. The framework offers a quick and secure route to engage with the additional expertise and capacity to support current and ongoing demand needs.”

Connect Health’s accreditation on the NHS England’s Health Systems Support Framework (HSSF) is in the “Patient Empowerment and Activation” and “Transformation and Change” categories. Its innovative services and infrastructure are wholly focused on the patient experience and what really makes a difference to them – being seen in the right place, at the right time, by the right clinician. Minimising waste, it uses performance data to achieve 30% service efficiency across transformed clinical services, reducing patient waiting times, achieving better outcomes and relieving increasing pressures on primary and secondary care.

By realigning MSK, orthopaedic, pain and rheumatology expenditure, patient activity is rebalanced to the most appropriate setting, in line with the NHS RightCare model. Integration for Connect Health in all its local pathways means closer working with primary, community, third sector and secondary care partners.

Mike Turner continues: “Transformation through data and culture change is fundamental to really understanding the right interventions for patients and delivering sustainable pathways. Working with NHS partners to transform care, our expertise in this area has seen the organisation mobilise and transform over 15 community services in the last few years.

“We have invested over £3m to develop capability and infrastructure with an exclusive focus on the delivery of high-quality, responsive integrated services with the aim of optimising the experience for patients, taxpayers and colleagues.”

The NHS Long Term Plan calls for greater integration of healthcare services, of health and social care, and of physical and mental health services, are more important than ever given the impact of COVID-19. Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are a vehicle to enable providers and commissioners to collaborate in order to take accountability for a defined set of resources and make faster improvements in the quality of care and the health and wellbeing of the population.

The HSSF provides an easy and supported route to access the support systems needed to transform how care is delivered while getting best value from taxpayers’ money.