Transformed community health services for local people

June 17, 2015

Patients living in High Weald, Lewes and the Havens will soon benefit from a new and improved NHS community health services that will see patients receive more integrated services and more care provided closer to their homes and in their local community.

The new model of care has been designed together with local patients and members of the public over the last 18 months who have helped ensure the service meets the specific needs and geography of local people. Services will be designed in a way to improve clinical outcomes for patients and offer a greater focus on self-management, prevention and patient education as well as a high standard of patient care and experience.

This new way of supporting local people is wholly aligned to East Sussex Better Together (ESBT), a programme that has the three NHS CCGs working closely together with East Sussex County Council to transform local health and care services across the county. By commissioning services that bring more care closer to home, utilise the full potential of community hospitals and reduce demand on acute hospital care, ESBT aims to develop a fully integrated health and care economy in East Sussex by 2018.

Following a rigorous procurement exercise carried out by High Weald Lewes Havens CCG, Sussex Community NHS Trust (SCT) has been appointed as the preferred bidder of these services. SCT have created the Sussex Healthcare Alliance, an alliance of expert local providers. The alliance will be led and managed by SCT as the prime provider with a partnership model with other NHS providers and voluntary organisations.

The SCT plan for community services will:

  • Deliver services for local people through communities of practice which would see clusters of GP practices supported by a range of professionals including district nurses, therapists and mental health and social care practitioners.
  • Expand the range of services delivered through the community hospitals and improve links to local acute hospitals and voluntary and third sector providers.
  • Place greater emphasis on joint working and shared learning between professionals within the multi-disciplinary community teams and primary care teams.
  • Improve information sharing through IT integration and co-designed care plans and integrated personal health records.

The CCG began listening to feedback and ideas from patients about what they want from community health services over 18 months ago and took the decision in March 2014 to serve notice on its contract with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust so it could discuss and consider new ways of meeting the needs of local people.

Over the course of the last year the CCG has engaged with hundreds of individuals through 30 patient, community and voluntary organisations to ensure they had the opportunity to inform the design of the new service. Several patient representatives have been directly involved in the CCG’s procurement process to ensure the final solution and decision regarding provider was in the best interests of local people.

The CCG will now be working closely with local people, GPs and the preferred bidder over the coming months to award the contract and plan for the mobilisation of the new service. The new service will be introduced in phases with small developments expected to go live in November 2015.

Patients should continue to use services in the same way and talk to their GP about their health needs in the first instance.

Dr Sarah Perry, local GP and HWLH CCG clinical lead for community services said:

“Feedback from local patients and GPs had highlighted some of the difficulties faced by community services and some inconsistences in the way care was provided for local patients across our reach.

“As local commissioners, we are committed to investing in community services and the new contract will mean improvements in clinical outcomes for local people through more integrated services and with more care provided closer to where people live and in their local community.”


Paula Head, Chief Executive of Sussex Community NHS Trust said, “I am delighted that SCT has been successful in this bid. Patient care is at the heart of what we do as a community Trust and this is an exciting opportunity to extend our services to a wider Sussex population. We have innovative plans to work in partnership to ensure the very best services are available. Our vision is for people to experience excellent, localised, seamless healthcare and we look forward to working with the CCG to make this a reality for people in the High Weald Lewes Havens area.”


Beth Simons, Chair of Patient Participation Groups in High Weald said: “What I have seen is a dedicated team of health professionals and officers seeking the voice of patients throughout the process and listening to and respecting what we have to say. Our vision for local services is the same.”

Elizabeth Keating, retired radiographer and active member of her GP surgery’s patient participation group said: “HWLH CCG brought a completely new approach to this procurement and I thought it was well led. The method used was of benefit to getting the best services for patients.”

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