Working together at scale: FAQs on provider collaboratives

Provider collaboratives represent an opportunity to transform health and care delivery while driving improvements in patient outcomes and lived experience. All of which support the ambitions set out in the policy paper: Integrating care: next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England.

Provider collaboratives are one of the cornerstones of the English health and care landscape.

As of July 2022, provider collaboratives are mandatory for all NHS trusts providing acute and mental health services. Many NHS community and ambulance trusts have also been offered the opportunity to take part and non-NHS providers may also be included where this will benefit patients and makes sense for the providers. 

NHS England defines a provider collaborative as partnership arrangements involving at least two trusts working at scale across multiple places. A move away from competition to one of cooperation and collaboration – underpinned by the duty to collaborate in the Health and Care Act 2022 (the Act).

In summer 2021, NHS England published guidance to formalise the move to collaborative working, which sets out some minimum expectations for how providers should work together at scale in provider collaboratives. A supplementary toolkit provides further support on setting up collaboratives, including potential governance models. 

We share insights from our learning and experience of working with provider collaboratives up and down the country on what makes a successful collaborative – the honeymoon period can fade fairly quickly as you get down to the difficult issues.

We have prepared 10 FAQs to guide you through the process of forming a collaborative.

Get in touch

Our FAQs provide a high-level overview of the key issues you need to consider when it comes to developing your provider collaborative. If you need advice and support with your collaborative do get in touch with the contacts of this article – we’d love to hear from you.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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