In terms of cost, patient outcomes and experience of care, the opportunities generated through collaboration across multiple providers and trusts are almost endless. As integrated care systems continue to develop across the country, as set out in the Long-Term Plan, and the boundaries between acute, mental health and community trusts begin to blur, it can be tempting to conclude that mergers or acquisitions are the best way forwards. However, collaboration or shared governance does not have to happen at such a high level for patients to derive real benefit.
This award recognises the work carried out at all levels to align priorities between provider organisations, which lead to greater efficiency and the development of person-centred services. This could be formally, as part of a regional or national clinical network or development of a wider hospital chain, or more informally through shared resources: the real importance is that patients ultimately derive benefit from the arrangement.
Entrants can be providers of NHS services across acute, mental health and community care. Examples of true partnership are likely to be evidenced by joint entries across multiple organisations.