Patients requiring specialised treatment are to be promised the same level and standards of care across England, following the publication of the NHS Commissioning Board's operating model for commissioning specialised services.
The model sets out how a single, national system 'will ensure patients are offered consistent, high quality services across the country'. This, and associated commissioning intentions, marks a move away from regional commissioning to a national approach to both commissioning and contracting.
The number of patients requiring specialised services is small with services located in specialist centres in major towns and cities across England. Concentrating services to provide national standards will ensure specialist staff can be more easily recruited and the necessary levels of training maintained.
By bringing together the ten different systems for commissioning specialised services, there will be an opportunity to innovate and introduce technologies to systematically improve health outcomes.
The system will provide a focus on rare conditions as well as medical genetics, kidney disorders, uncommon cancers, complex cardiac interventions, burn care and specialised services for children.