Background The role of commissioning is increasingly important (NHS England: NHS Commissioning online) but can be daunting. Hospices need to find ways to embrace this in order to navigate and improve outcomes in delivering care (NHS England: NHS Commissioning online). Achieving end of life wishes for more people requires transformational change. It is necessary to be innovative and radical, adopting approaches which enable true collaboration (NHS England: Partnerships and Relationships online). Working closely with local NHS commissioners ensures that services meet the needs of the local population and provides opportunities to influence development of healthcare services (NHS England: NHS Commissioning online).
Aims Effectively engage with our local CCG Commissioner to create and maintain robust relationships ensuring palliative and end of life care remains a CCG priority.
Methods By reaching out to our lead commissioner we established a more cohesive working relationship, in line with our organisation’s values. Our open and honest approach was well received, as was our ability to adapt to an ever-changing healthcare landscape. The commissioner works from the hospice regularly and is on first-name terms with many staff there. Communication with the CCG has vastly improved and the hospice is more widely recognised as the experts in palliative/end of life care.
Results We have been formally recognised by the CCG for our progress over recent years and were asked to collaborate with the lead commissioner to jointly design and deliver an innovative pilot to support patients’ preferences at end of life. We received a significant investment from the CCG to support this, and produce monthly KPIs to evidence outcomes and improvement.
Conclusions Having an open and honest relationship with the commissioner has helped us to grow and expand hospice services. Embedding the commissioner within the hospice has helped to place palliative and end of life care firmly at the heart of the commissioning agenda. This hugely positive relationship has ultimately benefitted patient care.
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