An open letter to the NHS


To the NHS and social care community,

I embark on this new year proud that Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit has already brought so many benefits to the NHS - innovation, integration and partnership, resilience and operating at scale, to name just a few. I am also excited about the next stage of development in our NHS and I am really looking forward to the CSU contributing to its transformation as we all strive to provide a more cohesive service, meeting the needs of our communities.

MLCSU’s future will be more about system support than it has been in the past as we blend our people and technical solutions to rise to the challenge of the big NHS change themes, acting as a catalyst for transformation.

Late December’s launch of the Accountable Care System (ACS) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) Development Partner Framework provides us with a springboard to meet the whole system needs of the future.

However, our continued support to commissioners remains a high priority for us. We know they can’t lose focus on their immediate priorities while simultaneously preparing themselves for the next financial year, as well as for the development of STPs and ACSs. 

We are here to help you have time to care, to plan and to prioritise – to do what you do best.

The framework will connect NHS decision-makers with us and our partners to help the delivery of more person and population-centred care. This means supplementing core capabilities with advanced innovations, including:

  • Tools that identify patients who are at high risk of an adverse event and are likely to be amenable to a particular intervention
  • Electronic patient records that give clinicians across all care settings a full picture of their patient’s health and wellbeing
  • Enhanced tools to support the monitoring of wider system programmes and to integrate clinical workflow with patient activation data to ensure patients are being treated at the right place and time
  • Support for creating a fundamental cultural shift in how clinicians, managers and patients use these new digital technologies, data tools and innovations to deliver meaningful improvements to care.

As the health systems in which we operate across the Midlands and the North West begin their journey to accountable care, we are ready to support the establishment of ACSs by providing the following solutions:

  • Infrastructure: encompassing electronic patient records and place-based digitalisation; health information exchange and interoperability hubs; and primary care IT support and cyber security
  • Insight: population health analytics and digital tools for system modelling, actuarial assessment, planning, research, risk stratification, and clinical decision support
  • Impact and intervention: transformation and change; programme management; patient empowerment and activation; system optimisation (including demand management and capacity planning, system assurance and medicines management). 

These services will complement the support that a number of STPs and ACSs in our area already receive from us. Support like research and analysis from our Strategy Unit – their recent rapid research project into GP appointment booking is one example of how we’re helping to optimise healthcare. Our EMS+ system is another of our solutions, which – right now – provides senior managers with a real-time view of urgent and emergency care performance to help them make efficient use of resources. 

I and my 1,600 colleagues look forward to helping to build ACSs that focus on prevention, personalisation and innovative, collaborative new models – a system that improves the care and experience of the people we serve by having the right service available at the right time, in the right place.

This year will be one of change, but also one of great opportunity. We are ready for the challenge.

Derek Kitchen

Managing Director, NHS Midlands & Lancashire CSU 

Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Kingston House
438-450 High Street
West Bromwich
West Midlands
B70 9LD

Tel: 0300 404 2999

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