Helping healthcare organisations to embrace partnership working

February 2020

GGI works with a lot of healthcare organisations either to support them ahead of a CQC inspection or to complete an independent well-led review of their organisation.

Partnership working and how governance is incorporated into it are increasingly significant factors in these areas. What we are seeing is not just the push from the NHS Long Term Plan in relation to ICSs, ICPs etc, but also a growing number of bespoke and local arrangements between organisations.

These arrangements might be based on networking services such as pathology, common goals such as providing care closer to home, or contractual arrangements such as IT systems. All share the ultimate aim of providing better services across the system to improve the patient experience, journey and/or outcome.

The seventh key line of enquiry (KLOE) of the well-led framework is: ‘Are the people who use services, the public, staff and external partners engaged and involved to support high quality sustainable services?’. This is the KLOE specifically aimed at partnership working which talks about ensuring ‘effective mechanisms’ are in place and ‘regularly attending systems meetings’ but which doesn’t give much of a steer in other aspects of partnership working – including outcomes, strategy, purpose, or risk.

To help providers address these areas, GGI has built a series of maturity matrices, including two that are suitable for integrated joint boards and NHS Trusts. In the higher maturity areas, organisations are not just involving stakeholders but leading as exemplars in areas such as vision setting, risk, outcomes and stakeholder engagement.

We are challenging providers to show good partnership governance arrangements – that means good contract management, good integrated services and good use of external stakeholders.

If regulators could also move their guidance in this direction, it will help them catch up to the curve. Failing to do so would mean running the risk of being left behind by the relentless pace of change.

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