NHS leaders to unify community health services across the region

  • 19 December 2018


NHS leaders are moving to ensure that high quality health services are available closer to home for adults living in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

In the last three months, more than 500 people have shared their ideas about future services. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will launch its search for a single community healthcare provider in early 2019.

Community health services include community nursing, speech and language therapy, health visiting, diabetes support, physiotherapy and many others. These services support thousands of people every year in the region, and are key to helping people stay well, closer to home.

Improving healthcare in the community is a key Government priority, and likely to feature strongly in the forthcoming 10 Year Plan for the NHS*. Nationally, as many as one third of people stay in hospital longer than they need to,** often because they are unable to access care or treatment close to home.

Historically, different community health organisations have supported people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The CCG is now planning to advertise for a single provider to ensure that care is joined-up and consistent across the area.

Whatever their postcode in Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire, people will have access to similar services. Teams of health professionals will also work more closely together, making it easier for patients to get the care they need. 

Dr Kate Rush, Associate Medical Director for NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said:

We already have a fantastic community health workforce, all helping people to live independently at home for as long as possible. We now want to build on this, and link up with other services that promote wellbeing – from exercise to diet and mental health.

We know people do better when they’re treated closer to home and have services easily available to keep them healthy, well and independent - your best bed is your own bed.

Patients, carers, healthcare professionals, local authorities and voluntary and community groups have helped the NHS understand what is most important to them. This feedback has helped to shape what community services will do in future. This includes:

  • better communication between health and care professionals, so people do not need to tell their story more than once
  • better support for carers
  • stronger links with mental health support, social care and voluntary services
  • grouping health services together, giving people easier access to different types of support

There will be further opportunities to get involved in 2019.

Bristol resident Mandie Lewis shared her views with the CCG earlier this year. Mandie cares for her disabled daughter, her husband with ME and her elderly mother: 

It makes such a difference to know there are people there to help when we need it, who we trust and will make life a bit easier for us in our time of need. Life can be incredibly tough. Knowing that services are available to offer support to my family but also help me as a carer is a great comfort. My hope is that people get the same good quality services, no matter where they live.

The NHS intends to begin the search for a community health services provider in early 2019 using a rigorous competitive process. Services will be in place from April 2020. 

Help shape community services

We want your ideas about what is important when planning next steps for community health services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.