An update on Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust (DIHC)
We wanted to write to you and provide an update on Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust (DIHC).
DIHC was created in April 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of developing and supporting primary care and to deliver integrated health and care for the Dudley population. As an NHS Trust, we currently provide a range of services to Dudley people including primary medical services from High Oak and Chapel Street practices, the Dudley Access Hub, Dudley Talking Therapies, Primary Care Mental Health, School Health Nursing and a range of commissioning responsibilities including Continuing and Intermediate Healthcare. We also employ a large number of staff in an enhanced primary care team to provide a range of support GP practices across Dudley.
As you will be aware, there has been a live procurement process in place since 2017 led by health commissioners (the CCG and subsequently the ICB) and Dudley Council. The procurement aimed to award DIHC with a formal Integrated Care Provider contract, to tackle health inequalities and improve population health over a 10-year contract period by integrating primary care with community-based services.
This process has taken a significant amount of time, punctuated by the COVID–19 Pandemic, and faced a number of challenges.
As a result, NHS England asked Dudley place to pause and reflect on the approach to place based working and it was agreed by local partners to undertake a piece of work supported by external consultants (Capgemini), to develop a model of integrated health and care agreed by all parties across all sectors. This work concluded in the summer of 2022 with Dudley place partners agreeing to a new approach to integrated care in Dudley with collaboration across Dudley partners.
In the light of this work, the validity of the original procurement was reviewed by the ICB and Council led Procurement Project Board, as the original scope of the procurement exercise had changed and the view that DIHC is too small to be a standalone NHS Trust. It was therefore agreed that it was no longer appropriate to proceed with the procurement as originally planned and the process was drawn to a conclusion in November 2022.
Over the last few months, a process has been undertaken, to look at the opportunities to support primary care across the Black Country system, and to identify whether there is a strategic partner for DIHC within the Black Country system. Sadly, despite our best efforts, this has not been possible, and therefore there is now a process underway to look at the future of DIHC and the impact of any proposals on services and staff.
The great work that we do here in Dudley is recognised by all and there is a commitment to not lose any of the great achievements in Dudley alongside absolute certainty that all patient facing services will continue. We do not expect any of the recommendations to change the way that local people access their care.
A project group is overseeing several workstreams that are looking at the best way to continue to deliver services and build upon the excellent work that DIHC has undertaken. These groups will make recommendations to both DIHC and the Black Country ICB Boards on a way forward over the next few months.
DIHC will see a change in leadership in June as Matthew Hartland takes over the reins as Chief Executive Officer. We are keen to establish joint engagement meetings with you as key stakeholders as we make every effort to continue to keep you informed of progress and we will be in touch soon to find suitable times for these.
Mrs Stephanie Cartwright
Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
Mr Mark Axcell
Chief Executive Officer
NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board