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Identifying efficiencies and better ways of working for Sussex Community NHS Trust

The NHS experiences almost continual change and has many challenges to address, including rising demand and heightened expectations at a time when resources are constrained. To achieve the change required and deliver real improvements, new and sometimes untried ways of doing things should be explored.

In December 2013, Sussex Community NHS Trust (SCT) entered in to a five year strategic relationship with Capita. The relationship is the first of its kind in the health market, set up to identify efficiencies, better ways of working, and to accelerate the pace which improvements can be achieved.

SCT is the largest provider of community based services in the South East. They deliver services to West Sussex and Brighton areas covering over one million people. The Trust has three main objectives:

  • to provide excellent care every time to reinforce wellbeing and independence
  • working with partners to personalise services for the individual
  • to be a strong sustainable business, grounded in their communities and led by excellent staff.

The partnership

Capita is helping SCT identify better ways of working, achieve efficiencies, deliver great clinical care and is bringing commercial experience to the partnership. We are working alongside the SCT management team rather than as a traditional supplier.

There will be no need for the Trust to go out to tender for each piece of work. Instead we will work side by side for the duration of the contract. This is a five year partnership.

The priorities for year one include:

  • strengthening the skills and resources of clinical care and support service leaders
  • supporting the property team to work more effectively and improve the experience of patients and staff using the Trust’s facilities
  • helping the Trust get the best value from their procurements.

Successes to date (six months in to the contract) include:

  • Facilitative Support Services – alignment of the Trust’s strategic objectives; change leadership development programme commenced for 100 participants; efficiency and productivity opportunities identified - up to £6.2m over two years; delivery has commenced.
  • Estates – successful TUPE transfer of SCT staff to Capita’s property division; improved performance and monitoring; new proposals on horizon; shared service opportunities building momentum; £9m savings identified to date for the five year period.
  • Procurement – robust pipeline of saving in delivery -£1.7m identified to date for the five year period.

Why Capita?

The Trust wanted a partner who could help them speed up progress with their plans to improve the health and care system in Sussex – Capita has the scale and resource to facilitate this. SCT felt our skills and experience complemented theirs.

The strategic relationship will really help us move forward in our work to realise our vision of excellent care at the heart of the community and deliver our strategic objectives. We will work together as partners to build upon on our respective strengths and expertise and achieve tangible improvements for the health and care system in Sussex. Ultimately, it’s about delivering improved services and better care to some of the most vulnerable patients in the communities we serve.

Jonathan Reid

Deputy CEO and director of finance, facilities and estates, Sussex Community NHS Trust

Things to consider when pursuing a partnership:

  • Procurement move to contract signature is challenging.
  • Executive engagement and stakeholder communications are key.
  • Things don’t end once the contract is signed. Careful consideration should be given to mobilisation and governance to effectively manage the contract.
  • The right advisors and experts are essential and needed on both sides.
  • Focus on specifics rather than aspirations – delivery is essential.
  • The real work will begin once in partnership.

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