At the moment, services are funded differently depending on where in England you are. Some services are funded through NHS England and others through Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), we are responsible for the delivery of healthcare within a specific area. This way of funding services can sometimes present barriers to accessing care, as it can be unclear who is responsible for which service. With these changes, ICSs will replace CCGs, bringing the different areas of care you'll need ii access all under one umbrella (in other words, greater integration). We hope that this change in funding will result in better and more consistent funding of neuromuscular services throughout England.
To help neuromuscular services benefit from these changes, MDUK has been engaging in a wide variety of meeting with NHS Specialised Commissioning, NHS England Paediatric Neuroscience Clinical Reference Group, the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, the Federation of Specialist Hospitals, and NHS Providers.
With this new funding mechanism, MDUK hopes to see improvements in care for people with muscle-wasting conditions, through the following ways:
- the implementation of a neuromuscular service specification to outline the core standards a neuromuscular service should provide, including access to a fully equipped specialised neuromuscular multi-disciplinary team (MDT), access to treatments and diagnostics, and sufficient staffing levels for both paediatric and adult care
- use of the service specification as a guide to allocate sufficient funding; this will go some way to joining up neuromuscular services by eliminating the different (and quite complicated) funding routes currently in place
- improved support for Neuromuscular Clinical Networks and Forums, which aim to improve neuromuscular care and service standards across regions, by bringing together specialist clinicians, people living with muscle-wasting conditions, and NHS decision-makers.
Robert Burley, MDUK Director of Care, Communications and Support, said:
Integrating care can only be a good thing to ensure increased collaboration and integration of specialist healthcare to help people living with muscle-wasting conditions access timely support from a range of healthcare and social care providers. MDUK is working with key NHS decision-makers and ICS leads to ensure this change will only lead to improvements in the care of people with muscle-wasting conditions. MDUK hopes that this lead to a smooth transition to ICS funding for neuromuscular services across England.
Health and social care is already better integrated in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, but MDUK will continue to work with health professionals and decision-makers to ensure people with muscle-wasting conditions can access best practice care wherever they live in the UK.
Find out more about the work we are doing to improve care for people with a muscle-wasting condition.