A new contract has been initiated in south London with the aim of revolutionising adult mental health services.
South London commissioners have signed off a £650 million deal over the next 10 years, intended to achieve efficiency savings of approximately 10%.
Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and Lambeth council will now begin the process of identifying suitable providers.
Those selected will be required to create an alliance, and then coordinate and deliver support and services for those experiencing mental health difficulties in the region.
The proposal summary published for potential bidders says the new alliance deal will “allow partners to mature and focus on delivery of the outcomes and innovations in transforming care”.
This is believed to be the first large mental health contract to be attempted through the integrated sports and insurance process; NHS England’s new oversight programme for large or novel contracts introduced last year.
Currently it is planned for the contract to become active in April next year, with funding of around £65 million for the financial year.
The amount proffered in funding will diminish by 15% on an annual basis, with the intention that services will become more efficient through increasingly collaborative working processes.
Although bids have been made for the contract, the clinical commissioning group has kept the identity of bidders under wraps thus far.
South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust is the biggest provider in the region, although several different organisations have been utilised in order to deliver primary and social care, along with commissioning and the voluntary sector.
However, the underpinning of the existing system by traditional bilateral contracting arrangements has limited integration and collaboration, according to the proposal summary.
It is believed that a single contract will enable providers to align on a common set of outcomes, spreading improved working and best practices across the region, while enabling resources to be utilised more effectively.
Denis O’Rourke, assistant director of integrated commissioning in mental health at Lambeth CCG, as indicated that the new alliance will ultimately abseiled several contracts currently in place.
“On day one of the new contract, many of the contracts will still exist, but over time some will develop, some will cease and some will be remodelled,” O’Rourke asserted.
And the assistant director also indicated that an informal alliance is already in place among local providers, and this merely represents an extension of this concept.
A key priority for the alliance will be helping long-term rehabilitation inpatients move into community accommodation, with personalised support.
The clinical commissioning group currently spends nearly £10 million annually on this alone.