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Scaling up networked care


How can financial challenges be managed to enable scaling up of networked care?

The research indicated that scaling up a network will require investment which may be a barrier to expansion. With significant financial challenges already facing the NHS, providers and commissioners had concerns about the costs of expanding a network.

Different stakeholders have different concerns about networked care expansion. The biggest challenge is to ensure that expanding the network can balance all the stakeholder’s interests and meet patients’ needs.

It is critical that specialist providers and host trusts work together transparently.

It remains important that system partners understand the cost of the existing and future service including the cost of any gaps, such as workforce and quality.

Market Forces Factor (MFF) on tariff could add complexity to network expansion.

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How can financial challenges be managed to enable scaling up of networked care?

“If you’re crossing any boundary, there’s going to be some potential funding challenge.”

This should be less of an issue with expansion within a single STP although there can be slight variations between providers in an STP, particularly in London.

In addition, any difference in the way the workforce is paid can add further complexity. This is more likely to be an issue with geographical expansion.

Providers would welcome incentives such as fixed tariff to take on underperforming services. Alternatively, external funding including philanthropy could play a critical part in helping a network to scale up successfully.

Any such funding would need to be carefully allocated to ensure any services were sustainable in the long term.

Access to STP capital-related funding may be available to help support network growth numerically or geographically depending on the value it can offer the system.

 

Considerations:

  • Financial incentives, including external and non-recurrent funding, could play a critical part in enabling network expansion.
  • Funding for capital-related costs in neighbouring STPs may encourage geographic expansion.
  • The impact of the different payment structures, tariffs and the MFF will need to be considered when expanding geographically.
  • The current financial climate could drive system partners to focus on possible efficiencies gained by networking within an STP.